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LEGISLATIVE ALERT      click here for April 2003 update

Legislation to Repeal Old Car Emissions Exemption
Introduced AGAIN in
California Senate

As predicted, legislation has been reintroduced in the California Senate to repeal the state's current rolling emissions test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older. S.B. 708 repeals the current pro-hobbyist exemption and replaces it with an exemption for vehicles that are 45 or more model years old commencing January 1, 2005.

We Urge You to Contact Your State Senators Immediately to Oppose S.B. 708

Existing law in California exempts all pre-1974 vehicles from emissions testing until 2003. After 2003, vehicles 30-years old and older are exempt from emissions testing.

California's current emissions testing exemption recognizes the minimal impact of vehicles 30-years old and older on vehicle emissions and air quality.

Vehicles 30-years old and older constitute a small portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction.

Antique and classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven (about one-third the miles each year as a new vehicle).

Legislators and regulators are feeling the heat from a failed effort to meet air quality goals and are looking for a convenient scapegoat. The old car hobby should not carry the burden of their mistakes!

Please Contact your state senators to oppose S.B. 708.

To find out who your state senators are,
contact the California Senate general information line at 916 445-4311.

This information can also be accessed via the Internet at http://www.enjoythedrive.com/legislative/contact_legislator.asp

or call the SEMA Washington, DC office at 202-783-6007 ext. 39.

For our records,
please also fax a copy of your letters to us at
FAX 202 783-6024

or mail to:
SEMA Washington Office
1317 F St., NW, Ste. 500
Washington, D.C. 20004
Attn: Steve McDonald

April  2003  Update

WASHINGTON (April 23, 2003) - California State Senator Dean Florez has modified Senate Bill 708 (S.B. 708). The original S.B. 708 threatened to repeal the state's current rolling emissions test exemption for motor vehicles 30 years old and older. It sought to revoke the current pro-industry/pro-hobbyist exemption and replace it with an exemption for vehicles that are 45 or more model years old commencing Jan. 1, 2005.  A SEMA-drafted alternative that beefs up the existing California law prohibiting the operation of  "smoking" motor vehicles will replace the original bill.

"California officials continue to develop strategies to address failed efforts to meet air quality goals. Old cars often are targeted as convenient scapegoats," said SEMA Government Affairs Director Steve McDonald. "Over time Senator Florez has become convinced that the antique and classic vehicles that benefit from the current emissions exemption are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven. Forcing these vehicles back into the Smog Check program represented flawed environmental policy and created no real benefit to the quality of the air breathed by state residents. We are thrilled that Senator Florez ultimately agreed with our assessment."

The new S.B. 708 increases fines for violators of the state's current law prohibiting vehicles that emit excessive smoke. This legislation also adds vehicles cited for a smoking vehicle violation to those eligible for the state's Consumer Assistance Program. The program provides financial repair assistance up to $500 for certain low-income vehicle owners who qualify. "This alternative will result in real, verifiable emission reductions that help eliminate a significant source of pollution, and it does so without harm to consumers and hobbyists alike," said SEMA Technical Consultant Frank Bohanan. "The repair assistance provisions will likely reduce drivers' operating costs in addition to helping clear the air."

In seeking this alternative, Senator Florez acknowledged the thousands of phone calls and letters opposing his original bill that were generated by the California vehicle hobbyist community and related industry members. "California SEMA Action Network (SAN) car clubs and individual hobbyists did outstanding work in opposing the original S.B. 708. Within minutes after sending our legislative alerts, the phone calls, faxes and email began pouring into Sacramento," said SAN Director Brian Caudill. "California hobbyists provided the passion and the horsepower which enabled SEMA to make our arguments to Senator Florez. This is exactly how our enthusiast-industry partnership is supposed to work."

Existing law in California exempted all pre-1974 vehicles from emissions testing until Jan. 1, 2003. After Jan. 1, vehicles 30-years old and older are exempt from emissions testing. This law, enacted in 1997, acknowledges the minimal impact of vehicles 30-years old and older on vehicle emissions and air quality. Vehicles 30-years old and older constitute a small portion of the overall vehicle population in California and are regarded by clean air regulators and industry watchdogs as a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction.

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, represents the $27 billion specialty automotive industry. Founded in 1963, the trade association has more than 4,500 member companies. It is the authoritative source of research data, trends and market growth information for automakers and the specialty auto products industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger cars, minivans, trucks, SUVs and recreational vehicles.

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