Legislative updates around the country.
Inoperable Vehicles: Legislation was defeated that would have allowed cities to remove inoperable vehicles from private property if the vehicle was deemed a "nuisance" under a local ordinance. Among other things, the bill provided no reasonable safeguards for legitimate collectors to work on inoperable vintage vehicles on private property, even those located out of public view.
Bonded Titles: Legislation to create a less expensive bonded title procedure for titling assembled vehicles was signed into law by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. The new procedure calculates the amount of the bond as equal to the value of the vehicle. Prior to the enactment of the bill, all vehicle owners applying for a bonded title had to post a bond of 1.5 times the value of the vehicle. The bill also permits assembled vehicles to be bought and sold in inoperable condition. Arkansas defines an assembled vehicle as a vehicle constructed by a collector from parts obtained from a variety of different sources on various occasions.
Collector Vehicles: A bill to simplify the laws dealing with collector cars was approved by the Colorado legislature and signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper. Reorganizing the statutes into one location in the code will help the Department of Revenue, law enforcement, county clerks and enthusiasts more easily locate and apply state law governing the titling and registration of collector vehicles.
Ethanol: Legislation in Iowa to change labeling requirements on gas pumps across the state to only require labeling for unblended gasoline and E85 was successfully defeated for the year. Current law in Iowa requires labeling when gasoline is blended with any amount of ethanol. If the bill had been enacted, it would have removed labeling requirements for ethanol blended gasoline containing 15% or less ethanol, thereby increasing the risk of misfueling and potential engine damage. Unblended gas is required to be labeled, but no guarantee was made that unblended gas would be available.
Salvage/Scrap Vehicles: Legislation requiring scrap metal processors or car parts dealers to transfer a vehicle plate and title to the state's Department of Revenue has been signed by Governor Haley Barbour. The new rules allow scrap metal and parts dealers to submit an affidavit for a vehicle 10 years or older in place of the title if necessary. In addition, the bill prohibits the removal of a vehicle from private property without the consent of the vehicle owner or property owner. A vehicle may be towed from private property without the owner's consent only if authorized by local, state or federal law.
Ethanol: Legislation to remove labeling requirements on pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline has been "indefinitely postponed" in Nebraska. Current law in Nebraska requires labeling when gasoline contains 1% or more alcohol, including labels for pumps dispensing E10. The bill would have made it impossible for enthusiasts to know whether the gasoline they put into their vehicles contained any ethanol, making unintentional misfueling and engine damage more likely. This bill, or similar measures dealing with ethanol labeling, could be revived in the 2012 legislative session. We have a right to know what blend of ethanol we're putting into our cars.
Parts Cars: Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman signed into law a bill to redefine parts cars and make them easier to transfer. Prior to the bill's enactment, Nebraska required a certificate of title when transferring any vehicle. The new law allows for parts cars to be transferred using a bill of sale issued by the DMV. Parts vehicles eligible to be transferred using only a bill of sale under the new provisions include vehicles for which title has been surrendered due to the vehicle being destroyed, dismantled or scrapped or for which title has been surrendered to another state or an insurance company to render it fit for sale for scrap parts.
Collector Car Appreciation Day: The New York State Assembly approved a resolution to memorialize July 8, 2011, as Collector Car Appreciation Day in the state of New York, in conjunction with National Collector Car Appreciation Day. The effort was sponsored by New York Assemblymember Bill Reilich, who has served the automotive hobbyist community for the past four years as national chairman of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Earlier in the year, at SEMA's request, U.S. Senators John Tester (D-MT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced and the Senate approved Resolution 154 (S. Res. 154), officially designating July 8, 2011, as "National Collector Car Appreciation Day."
Ethanol: Legislation requiring ethanol content labels on all pumps that dispense ethanol-blended gasoline has been signed into law by North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue. The new law requires these labels to indicate that the gasoline contains 10% or less ethanol or greater than 10% ethanol. Previously, pumps dispensing ethanol-blended gasoline were not required to post labels regarding ethanol content. Many products on the market use materials that are incompatible with ethanol.
State Registration Fees: SAN-opposed legislation to require annual renewal fees for collector vehicle and horseless carriage license plates was defeated. Under the bill, the initial $35 license plate fee for these vehicles would have remained and a new annual $30 renewal fee would have been added. Under Washington law, a collector vehicle is any motor vehicle that is more than 30 years old, while a horseless carriage is defined as a vehicle that is more than 40 years old.
Vehicle Titles: A bill to ease the burden on collectors by providing an exemption from bonded title requirements has been signed into law by Governor Matt Mead. By allowing enthusiasts to title vehicles being restored for personal use without posting bond, the exemption reduces costs associated with titling hobby vehicles when an original title was never issued or can no longer be located. The new law allows restorers to title their completed works by submitting an affidavit of vehicle ownership, a notarized bill of sale, a written statement of the value of the vehicle (based on a national appraisal guide or appraisal performed by a dealer) and a VIN inspection. To prevent abuse of the new procedure, titles issued under this procedure will not be transferable for the first 180 days after issuance.