Government Affairs: The Year in Review

There was one silver lining to all the legislative headlines that dominated the news in 2013: Between partisan battles over everything from healthcare to the budget shutdown, lawmakers from the state level on up seemed a little too distracted to push for many new regulations impacting historic vehicle owners. Check out this short, year-end review along with an update on the HVA’s exciting new partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Coming Together, On A Mission

As part of our ongoing effort to preserve and document our automotive heritage, the HVA in March partnered with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Library of Congress to begin work on a National Historic Vehicle Register. Until now there has been no national, organized effort to preserve and promote the cultural and historic significance of the automobile. Through this partnership, we will develop a permanent archive of significant historic vehicles, similar to how historic buildings and other sites have been preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Ethanol Update

One of the biggest car-related issues in decades continues to revolve around ethanol. In a surprise turnaround following an admission that the 2007 biofuel law was not panning out as planned, the Obama administration announced plans in November to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. While the upshot of the reduction is still uncertain, this is potentially very good news for owners of older cars. The Historic Vehicle Association will continue to monitor developments and keep you informed in the months to come.

In Michigan

Senate Bill 654, introduced by Senator Tupac Hunter, proposed a requirement for both front and rear license plates. According to Senator Hunter, the passage of SB 654 would help in vehicle identification and, in the process, seek to deter crime. Meanwhile, at least nine other states introduced legislation in 2013 that sought to eliminate the requirement of a front license plate. Michigan is one of 19 states currently requiring only one license plate on a vehicle.

In West Virginia

After watching a similar historic vehicle tax-centric bill die last year, the West Virginia Legislature introduced House Bill 3058. HB 3058 is designed to impose a property tax on vehicles registered as historic and not used for general transportation. These vehicles will be “assigned an appraised value of $5,000 for purposes of ad valorem [according to value] property taxes” and will be taxed accordingly at that amount.

As of March 22nd, the bill remains in the House, where it was going to be reviewed by the Roads and Transportation committee before heading to the Finance Committee. We’ll keep you posted should anything change. Thanks to HVA member Donald Hogan for alerting us to this particular bill.

Shifting Gears in 2014

While the Historic Vehicle Association will continue to monitor legislative issues impacting the classic car hobby, the HVA’s mission for 2014 will primarily focus on the establishment of a National Historic Vehicle Register. While the focus has somewhat shifted, the HVA will remain an online resource center with tools and interactive maps that provides state-specific, legislative information.

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