There has been a Bill introduced in the Maryland state legislature that will have a substantial negative impact upon anyone with an antique registration, restricting their use, and requiring specialized insurance.
I have copied the latest notice from SEMA below as well as information received from Franklin Gage of the Bull Run Region. Please get this out to anyone you know in Maryland as this measure will be decided upon in the near future. Unfortunately, if this passes it may affect other states since they all tend to follow each others lead.
Take Care and Thanks
Senate Version of Maryland Bill to Restrict Eligibility for Historic Vehicle Registration Scheduled for Committee Hearing on Wed., Feb. 29
A Senate version (S.B. 846) of the bill to increase the age requirement for vehicles eligible for registration as “historic motor vehicles” has been scheduled for a Feb. 29, 2012 hearing in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. The bill is identical to House Bill 550, under which the age requirement would be raised from 20 to at least 25 years old and these cars would be prohibited from being used for “occasional transportation.” The measure would also require that an historic vehicle is insured by an historic vehicle, show vehicle or antique insurance policy. It’s time to let committee members and Senate sponsors know how you feel about this bill.
We Urge You to Contact Members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and the Senate Sponsors of S.B. 846(List Attached Below) Immediately to Request Their Opposition to the Bill
DON’T DELAY! Please contact the committee members and sponsors of S.B. 846 to request their opposition to the bill. Please e-mail a copy of your letter to Steve McDonald at email@example.com. Also, please forward this Alert to your fellow car enthusiasts. Urge them to join the SAN and help defend the hobby! Thank you for your assistance.
- S.B. 846 makes it more difficult to register legitimate historic vehicles, which are now already limited to club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades and occasional pleasure driving.
- S.B. 846 makes no provision for “grandfathering” existing historic vehicles 20-25 years old and allowing them to retain their historic status.
- S.B. 846 would deny vehicles 20-25 years old from existing benefits, including the special historic license plate and exemptions from equipment and emissions inspection requirements.
- S.B. 846 ignores the fact that existing historic vehicles in Maryland constitute a small portion of the vehicle fleet and are already well-maintained and infrequently operated.
Maryland SB 846 Sponsors
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Nancy King
Phone: (410) 841-3686
Senator Jennie M. Forehand
Phone: (410) 841-3134
Senator Victor R. Ramirez
Phone: (410) 841-3745
Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Members
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Senator Brian E. Frosh (Chair)
Phone: (410) 841-3124
Senator Lisa A. Gladden (Vice Chair)
Phone: (410) 841-3697
Senator James Brochin
Phone: (410) 841-3648
Senator Jennie M. Forehand
Phone: (410) 841-313
Senator Joseph M. Getty
Phone: (410) 841-3683
Senator Nancy Jacobs
Phone: (410) 841-3158
Senator Victor R. Ramirez
Phone: (410) 841-3745
Senator Jamin B. Raskin
Phone: (410) 841-3634
Senator Christopher B. Shank
Phone: (410) 841-3903
Senator Norman R. Stone, Jr.
Phone: (410) 841-3587
Senator Robert A. Zirkin
Phone: (410) 841-3131
Dear Fellow Maryland Auto Hobbyist:
As you may know, HB 550 has been introduced in the MD House of Delegates to alter (for the worse) our MD Historic Vehicle statute. Among other things, it would apparently:
---increase the eligible vehicle age to use Historic Plates from 20 to 25 years
---make some currently eligible vehicles of ANY age ineligible, including some limos, hearses, ambulances, fire trucks, wrecker tow trucks, trailers, mopeds and scooters
---require specialty collector/historic insurance (presumably from an approved list; your choice of insurers may be limited if companies decide to withdraw from MD given more paperwork for a limited market)
-- eliminate the 'occasional transportation' allowance in the current law which could lead to restrictions making weekday use, occasional pleasure driving at any time, and driving to
repair/maintenance shops or events more difficult (possibly illegal)
Our wonderful friends at SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) are working hard to kill this bill; they have a great record in other states of winning these battles, but to do so elected Delegates need to hear from their constituents. I suggest the following, please:
---Contact your Delegates to express your opposition to any change in the current law and asking them to do their part to get it withdrawn or tabled. It would be helpful to cc a copy, and certainly any response,
to Steve McDonald at SEMA (SteveM@SEMA.org). If you are emailing, make sure the Delegate knows you are a constituent.
---Contact ColbyM@SEMA.org to request that you be put on their alert list so you can receive updates on this and future issues.
---Click on http://www.bipac.net/page.asp?content=a 2012MD2&g=SEMAGAfor more information. It would be helpful to contact members of the Environment Committee, listed there.
---If not derailed sooner, there may be a hearing on this bill on February 28, 2012 in Annapolis and your attendance might help.
---Contact other MD hobbyists or MD friends and relatives (if you belong to a club it may have an email list, but we should include the 'E-Challenged' non-email users too!).
As some of you know, in my former life I was a registered environmental lobbyist and U.S. Senate staffer. In my view, while antique vehicle owners are a minority, we are large enough to win this fight, and action now may deter future, even worse, proposals. There's an even larger group that are non-owners but enthusists. I am including the letter I am sending to my Delegates; feel free to plagiarize though your own words will be more effective!
Delegate Justin Ross
6 Bladen St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Mr. Ross:
I am writing to ask you to please ask your colleagues on the Environment Committee to withdraw or table HB 550, which amends Maryland's antique motor vehicle statute. I am opposed to this bill because it will discourage the preservation of antique vehicles by reducing the availability and use of Historic Plates by:
---Raising the vehicle age requirement from 20 to 25 years. This would be unfortunate as 20 year old vehicles (and less) are routinely being crushed by salvage yards; it is already difficult to find parts and their
very existence in the future is threatened.
---Eliminating eligibility of some vehicles, including some of the more interesting attractions at car shows, parades, etc. such as fire trucks, hearses, limos, mopeds, etc.
---Requiring proof of collector/specialty insurance; most of us with antique cars already have this type of insurance, but compliance with regulations that presumably would have to be promulgated may cause
some insurers to withdraw this type of policy from Maryland, reducing our options.
---Eliminates the "Occasional Use" provision of the current statute. This poses many problems, including the fact that if these cars aren't driven occasionally but regularly they are more prone to damage from
rodents and to leaking from dried up oil, coolant, transmission and other seals, which could damage the environment. Although the proposal continues to allow use for organized club events, the occasional
use of these cars even for non-organized events such as meeting for a restaurant meal is of economic benefit to everyone.
I am told this bill was introduced because there is a problem with some people getting the Historic Plates for regular-use vehicles. I don't deny that may be a problem, but it has to be a trivial problem because such a tiny percentage of all Maryland vehicle registrations are Historic, and the abusers have to be a tiny percentage of that. The small percentage of abusers is already prohibited from regular use by the current statute, so the solution to this already tiny problem is to enforce the existing law.
I would urge you not to discourage the preservation and use of antique autos in our State; while many of us collect them for our own enjoyment, we also are trying to preserve an important part of our history and share it with others. We contribute to the State in a variety of ways, from parade cars (one of my cherished photos is of Steny Hoyer sitting on the hood of my '51 Chevrolet at a Greenbelt Labor Day Parade!), to charity benefit car shows to scholarships to economic benefits for the state and businesses. Just last year the world famous 'Revival Glidden Tour' was hosted in Maryland. With about 300 cars (including many from out of state) here for 5 days and surely underestimating expenditures of at least $200/day per car for lodging, gas and restaurants, that one of hundreds of events generated in excess of $300,000, all taxable to the State.
I am Director of the Free State Region of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America; members at our last meeting expressed unanimous opposition to this bill. In my next Director's Message I plan to report on the positions of our Delegates, so would appreciate it if you would please advise me of yours, and thank you for your attention to this matter.
Franklin L. Gage
2A Crescent Rd.
Greenbelt, MD 20770