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A Round-Up of Recent State Legislation that Impacts Our Hobby

 
By Mike Aguilar
 
State legislators are always coming up with new piece of legislation that can help or harm our hobby. From bills that would seriously impact our hobby to those that would have next to no impact, almost every state legislature in the land is considering at least one piece of legislation that touches upon the automotive hobby world in some way or another. 
 
Delaware Wants Vehicles to Be Exempted from Registration for Seven Instead of Five Years
Image credit: Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
 
This bill was sponsored by four Democrats (Osienski, Hansem, Baumbach, and Keeley) and two Republicans (King and Wilson). Delaware already allows owners of vehicles that are five years of age and newer to forego registration and emissions testing for up to 72 months with the payment of a pro-rated registration fee. 
 
State legislators realize that newer cars are equipped with technologies that ensure they have low emissions for a number of years. Another intent of the law is to balance out the work for inspection and testing stations in the state. If passed, instead of being limited to five years, this program would be opened up to vehicles of up to seven years in age. This bill recently passed committee and has moved to the House floor. 
 
California’s Legislature Ponders Bill Exempting Certain Vehicles/Areas from Bi-Annual Inspection
 
 
California has, for as long as I can remember, had a law on the books that allowed vehicles in a certain age group (“Classic Cars”) to be exempted from the smog check requirement except under certain conditions. The current cutoff age for this provision of the law is currently model year 1976. 
 
However, the California Assembly is currently looking at a bill that would exempt far more vehicles from the bi-annual smog check requirement. Currently, some vehicles that are five model years in age and younger and that are registered in certain parts of the state are already exempted from the smog check requirement. Assembly Bill 1274 would amend current law to change that to eight years and require owners to pay a $24 annual “smog abatement fee.” Under this bill, the DMV would be allowed to conduct spot tests and use technological means to determine what cars should be smog tested. 
 
Here’s the part that impacts on our racing hobby: “If the department determines through remote sensing activities or other means that there is a substantial probability that the vehicle has a tampered emission control system or would fail for cause a smog check test….” The department can demand that said vehicle be tested. Most cars that are being raced have their emissions equipment bypassed, if not removed. 
 
New Jersey Wants to Protect Warranty Coverage for Cars
 
 
Not many people realize it, but you car’s warranty could be voided if you’ve had any work done to it outside of a dealership. This is because most dealerships will try to void a new car warranty simply because aftermarket parts were used. So, for instance, let’s say that Goodyear supplied the belts and hoses on your engine and you changed them to Gates products. Technically, your car’s warranty could be voided because of that. 
 
Most consumers aren’t aware that this practice is illegal, so it ends up costing consumers millions of dollars a year in repair costs that should have been covered under the warranty. Dealerships typically don’t inform car buyers of this fact because they have to pay for warranty repairs. New Jersey Assembly Bill 2612 would require car dealers to add text to their purchase contracts in 10-point font that is easily readable informing consumers of their rights under the 2010 Federal Trade Commission ruling that made this practice illegal. The bill, written and sponsored by six Democrats, is currently in the state Senate’s Commerce Committee. The bill was recently amended so that the onus is on the vehicle manufacturer and not the dealer to provide the warranty inclusion statement. 
 
Nevada Bill Allowing Year of Manufacture Plates to More Years Signed Into Law
 
 
Seeing a classic car, on the road or at a show, sporting a license plate that resembles those that were in use when that car was new is pretty cool. It definitely adds to the uniqueness and “cool factor” of an older car. Until recently, Nevada only allowed the issuance of collector car plates for cars that were built prior to 1942.  Senate Bill 339 changed that. Now owners of cars built up to 1961 can apply for these unique collector plates that resemble the license plates of yesteryear.