July-August 2019 Legislative Report

Dave Bajumpaa

 The 2019 State Legislative Session ended on June 5. We retained the services of Hughes and Cronin Public Affairs Strategies to monitor legislation related to the antique auto hobby, as we had done in previous sessions. In this monitoring capacity, Hughes and Cronin informs us of the pending legislation. We report to you on any legislation potentially impacting the hobby, and ask you to contact your legislators and help get favorable legislation passed, and unfavorable legislation defeated (i.e., a "grass roots" approach).Discussions between the Governor and Democratic legislative leaders continue regarding whether a special session will be called to consider action that would implement highway tolls. It remains unclear if the session will be called and what the outcome will be.The table included in this newsletter summarizes the final status of bills related to the hobby and othe rtransportation related matters of interest that were introduced in the legislative session.At previous business meetings, we discussed HouseHouse Bill 6973 which proposed that number plates only be required on the rear of motor vehicles when no adequate mounting place exists on the front of the vehicle. This would be of benefit to some hobby vehicles, and as I understand it, certain modern motor vehicles. A Public Hearing on this bill took place onthis bill on February 13th. On behalf of the 4C’s I submitted written testimony in favor of this bill. As noted in the table contained in this newsletter,* the concept was moved to Section 16 of Senate Bill 924,which is a DMV “Clean Up” bill. This is the annual type bill where minor, non-controversial changes tothe DMV statutes are included. As reported in the last newsletter we thought that, even though this bill was sitting on the Senate calendar for several weeks without action, this bill had a high likelihood of success in passing both the Senate and the House this session. With two days left to go in the session, the Senate passed an Amendment to the bill that eliminated Section 16 from the bill. On the last day ofthe session, the House passed the amended bill, which became Public Act 19-119 and was signed by the Governor on July 12, 2019. As such, the proposal to eliminate the requirement for a front license plate on certain motor vehicles was defeated. I understand the reason for this last minute elimination was due to nonpublic objections by the Connecticut State Police.That is unfortunate…In previous newsletters, I reported on Senate Bills 431 and 1139 where the state proposed eliminating the cities and towns ability to collect tax motor vehicles and instead implement a state wide tax on motor vehicles. In other words, the state was proposing to take this source of revenue away from the cities and towns, and use that tax revenue for state expenses.This is not adverse to the antique auto hobby by itself. What it means is that we won’t pay our towns taxes on our cars, but, of course, we will have to pay our town more tax for our homes and other property to pay for town expenses (in addition to paying a newtax to the state).I did provide written testimony on behalf of the 4C’s on both these bills. As I reported in previous newsletters, the testimony did not take a position regarding whether a state-wide motor vehicle tax should or should not be enacted. However, if it is enacted, it is very important that the curren tprovisions of Section 12-71(b), which contains the$500 maximum assessed value of an antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle be maintained.Both these bills died, and there will be no change to the way the cities and towns collect property taxes on our motor vehicles. We will need to remain vigilanton this issue in future legislative sessions, since, as you know, the state is looking for new sources of tax revenue.At the very end of this 2019 legislative session, an agreement on the biennial budget for the state was reached. House Bill 7424 was amended and passed the House on 6/3, and the Senate on 6/5, became Public Act 19-117, and was signed by the Governor on 6/26/2019. Note that even though a budget is in place for this year, the fiscal problems for the state are far from over, and this issue will continue to dominatefuture legislative sessions. In other issues in this session (as shown on the table in this newsletter)*, House Bill 6161 proposed to increase the minimum age motorcycle operators and passengers are required to wear helmets from 18 to 21years. The bill passed the House. However, theSenate took no action and the bill died.House Bill 7140, which among other things, required the use of seatbelts for all passengers in a motor vehicle (limited to those vehicles that were originally equipped with them) was amended to delete this provision on the last day of the session and was signedby the Governor on July 12th. Regarding titles for motor vehicles, as reported in previous newsletters, the new DMV leadership is inplace. Now that the session is over, we will pursue improvements in the DMV regulations regarding obtaining titles for our collector cars.

*Legislation charts mentioned above can be seem at: 

https://ctccc.net/  (on the home page) or

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/connecticutcouncilofcarclubs

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