June 2018 Legislative Report
The 2018 Legislative Session began on February 7,2018 ended on May 9, 2018. No bills adverse to the antique auto hobby were introduced in this session, and the outlook is positive from the hobbyperspective.The table shown below summarizes the status of bills related to the hobby and other transportation related matters of interest that were introduced in the legislative session. The status on May 26, 2018 is reflected in the table.
House Bill 5119 proposed to exempt antique, rare, and special interest motor vehicles from the $5 per year “Passport to the Parks Fee” added to the everyone’s motor vehicle registration renewals we receive from DMV. This new fee results from a change to Section 14-49b of the state Motor Vehicle Statutes that was made effective on January 1, 2018. House Bill 5119 was referred to the Transportation Committee, and died without a public hearing
House Bill 5312 proposed changes recommended by DMV regarding motor vehicle statutes. This is the annual “clean-up” bill. The bill does not contain anything adverse to the hobby. The bill proposed to eliminate the provision contained in Section 14-49 Subsection (aa) of the statutes to refund one-half of the registration fee for any motor vehicle if a person cancels his registration with one year or more remaining on the registration and requests a refund. However, Amendment Schedule A restored this provision. Presumably this would also include the $5 per year “Passport to the Parks” fee. Both the House and Senate have passed this bill as modified by Schedule A and it is eligible for the Governor’s signature.
Four bills SB 389, HB 5046, HB 5391 and HB 5393, concerned the introduction of tolls on Connecticut highways. As I understand it, HB 5391 provided a two-step process for introducing tolls. The first step directed the Department of Transportation to conduct an environmental study identifying where the tolls will be located and return a recommendation to the legislature whether to move forward. This study was to be provided to the legislature in the 2019 session. If the legislature took no action on the study within 30 days of getting it, the recommendations will be carried out, and presumably tolls will be instituted. These four bills did not have adequate support of the legislature and died on their respective Senate and House calendars without a vote. So any action to implement tolls in the state will be delayed for at least another year.
At 4 pm on May 9th, eight hours before the required end of the regular legislative session at midnight, the House and Senate leadership announced a bipartisan agreement on the budget. Both the Senate and House approved Senate Bill 543 at about 11:30 pm that evening. This bill was signed by the Governor on May 15th and is Public Act 18-81. This bill adjusts the second year of current biennial budget starting July 1, 2018 and increases spending by around 2% to approximately $21 billion. There are no new tax increases, principally because April state income tax collections came in much higher than expected at about $1 billion. However, the bill does raise the maximum tax rate cities and towns can levy on motor vehicles from the current 39 mills to 45 mills in future years. (This does not impact you unless your city or town’s mill rate is greater than these values.) The budget retroactively postpones cutbacks to the Medicare Savings Program which uses Medicaid funds to help elderly and disabled patients cover premium and medication costs. The budget spends more than $300 million of the $1 billion increase in income taxes, leaving the state with $1.1 billion in emergency reserves (rainy day fund). Projections for future Connecticut budgets show that they will be running very large deficits. The fiscal note for Senate Bill 532 projects deficits for the budget years beginning July 1, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 of $2.0, $2.5, $3.1 and $3.6 billion, respectively. So the fiscal problems for the state will are far from over.
Current State Statutes the 4C’s is Protecting (Updated per Public Act 09-187): Key Definitions
Subdivision (3) of Subsection (a) of Section 14-1 of the state statutes defines an "Antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle" as a motor vehicle twenty years old or older which is being preserved because of historic interest and which is not altered or modified from the original manufacturer's specifications;
Subdivision (49) of Subsection (a) of Section 14-1 of the state statutes defines a “Modified antique motor vehicle" means a motor vehicle twenty years old or older which has been modified for safe road use, including, but not limited to, modifications to the drive train, suspension, braking system and safety or comfort apparatus.
Section 14-20 of the state statutes allows Number Plates for antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles and states: (a) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may issue special number plates for antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles, including antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles that have been modified, such special number plates to be issued on a permanent basis. The commissioner shall charge a fee for such plates which shall cover the entire cost of making the same. An owner of such antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle may use such owner's own porcelain number plate in place of the plates issued by the commissioner provided (1) such plate was originally issued by the department, and (2) such owner files with the commissioner a description and the number of such plate and any additional information the commissioner may require. (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, section 14-18, and section 14-21b, the owner of such antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle may be authorized by the commissioner to display a number plate originally issued by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles corresponding to the year of manufacture of such antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle. The commissioner shall issue a certificate of registration, as provided in section 14-12 Such registration shall be valid, subject to renewal, as long as the commissioner permits. Thereafter, the registration number and number plates,
if any, which were assigned to such motor vehicle before such registration and number plates were issued under this section, shall be in effect. Each such number plate authorized for use by the commissioner shall be displayed in a conspicuous place at the rear of such motor vehicle at all times while the vehicle is in use or operation upon any public highway. A sticker shall be affixed to each such number plate to denote the expiration date of the registration, unless the commissioner authorizes the sticker, or other evidence of the period of the registration, to be placed elsewhere or carried in such motor vehicle. Such sticker may contain the corresponding letters and numbers of the registration and number plate. The commissioner may adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this section.
Regarding Safety Inspections:
Sec. 14-16a. Inspection of older vehicles before or upon transfer of ownership. Historical or special interest fire apparatus. Antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles and modified antique motor vehicles. (a) The commissioner may require that each motor vehicle registered in this state which is ten model years old or older shall, within thirty days before transfer of ownership or upon such transfer, be presented for inspection, as directed by the commissioner, at any Department of Motor Vehicles office or any official emissions inspection station or other facility authorized by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to conduct such inspection. The vehicle shall be inspected to determine whether it is properly equipped and in good mechanical condition before registration is issued to the new owner of the vehicle. If the commissioner authorizes the contractor that operates the system of official emissions inspection stations or other business or firm, to conduct the safety inspections required by this subsection, the commissioner may authorize the contractor or other business or firm to charge a fee, not to exceed fifteen dollars, for each such inspection. The commissioner may authorize any motor vehicle dealer or repairer, licensed in accordance with section 14-52 and meeting qualifications established by the commissioner, to perform an inspection required by this section or to make repairs to any motor vehicle that has failed an initial safety inspection and to certify to the commissioner that the motor vehicle is in compliance with the safety and equipment standards for registration. No such authorized dealer or repairer shall charge any additional fee to make such certification to the commissioner. If the commissioner authorizes any such dealer or repairer to conduct safety inspections, such licensee may provide written certification to the commissioner, in such form and manner as the commissioner prescribes, as to compliance of any motor vehicle in its inventory with safety and equipment standards, and such certification may be accepted by the commissioner as meeting the inspection requirements of this subsection.
(b) The following vehicles, upon transfer of ownership, shall be presented for inspection, as directed by the commissioner, at any Department of Motor Vehicles office or any official emissions nspection station authorized by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to conduct such inspection: (1) All motor vehicles ten model years old or older which are registered in this state and which were originally used or designed as fire apparatus and which are of historical or special interest as determined by the commissioner, (2) all antique, rare or special interest motor vehicles, and (3) all modified antique motor vehicles. Any such vehicle shall be inspected to determine whether it is in good mechanical condition before registration can be issued to the new owner of such vehicle. The determination of the mechanical condition of a vehicle described in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be made by inspecting only the vehicle's original equipment and parts or the functional reproductions of the original equipment and parts. The mechanical condition of modified antique motor vehicles shall be determined by inspecting the original equipment and any functioning replacements of such equipment. The model year designation for the purpose of registration of a modified antique motor vehicle or a composite motor vehicle shall be the model year that the body of such vehicle most closely resembles. If the commissioner authorizes the contractor that operates the system of official emissions inspection stations or other business or firm, except a licensee of the department, to conduct the safety inspections required by this subsection, the commissioner may authorize the contractor or other business or firm tocharge a fee, not to exceed fifteen dollars, for each such inspection. The commissioner may authorize any motor vehicle dealer or repairer, licensed in accordance with section 14-52 and meeting qualifications established by the commissioner, to make repairs to any motor vehicle that has failed an initial safety inspection and to certify to the commissioner that the motor vehicle is in compliance with the safety and equipment standards for registration. No such authorized dealer or repairer shall charge any additional fee to make such certification to the commissioner. Sec. 14-16b. Inspection of damaged vehicles.
Section 14-16b is repealed.
See Sec. 14-103a re inspection of reassembled, altered or rebuilt vehicles.
Sec. 14-103a. Inspection of reassembled, altered or rebuilt vehicles.
Any motor vehicle that (1) has been reconstructed, (2) is composed or assembled from the several parts of other motor vehicles, (3) the identification and body contours of which are so altered that the vehicle no longer bears the characteristics of any specific make of motor vehicle, or (4) has been declared a total loss by any insurance carrier and subsequently reconstructed, shall be inspected by the commissioner to determine whether the vehicle is properly equipped, in good mechanical condition and in the possession of its lawful owner. The model year designation for the purpose of registration of a composite motor vehicle inspected in accordance with this section shall be the model year that the body of such composite motor vehicle most closely resembles. Such vehicle shall be presented for inspection at any Department of Motor Vehicles office to conduct such inspection. The commissioner may require any person presenting any such reassembled, altered or reconstructed vehicle for inspection to provide proof of lawful purchase of any major component parts not part of the vehicle when first sold by the manufacturer. The commissioner may require, in accordance with the provisions of this section, the inspection of any other motor vehicle that has not been manufactured by a person, firm or corporation licensed in accordance with the provisions of section 14-67a, as amended by this act. The fee for any inspection required by the provisions of this section shall be eighty-eight dollars. The inspection fee shall be in addition to regular registration fees. As used in this section, "reconstructed" refers to each motor vehicle materially altered from its original construction by the removal, addition or substitution of essential parts, new or used.
Regarding Emissions Inspections: Section 14-164c(c) states:
The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this section. Such egulations shall include provision for a periodic inspection of air pollution control equipment and e compliance with or waiver of exhaust emission standards or compliance with or waiver of on-board diagnostic standards or other standards defined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and approved by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, compliance with or waiver of, air pollution control system integrity standards defined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection and compliance with or waiver of purge system standards defined by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection. Such regulations may provide for an inspection procedure using an on-board diagnostic information system for all 1996 model year and newer motor vehicles. Such regulations shall apply to all motor vehicles registered or which will be registered in this state except:
(1) Vehicles having a gross weight of more than ten thousand pounds;
(2) vehicles powered by electricity;
(3) bicycles with motors attached;
(5) vehicles operating with a temporary registration;
(6) vehicles manufactured twenty- five or more years ago;
(7) new vehicles at the time of initial registration;
(8) vehicles registered but not designed primarily for highway use;
(9) farm vehicles, as defined in subsection (q) of section 14-49;
(10) dieselpowered type II school buses;
(11) a vehicle operated by a licensed dealer or repairer either to or from a location of the purchase or sale of such vehicle or for the purpose of obtaining an official emissions or safety inspection; or
(12) vehicles that have met the inspection requirements of section 14-103a and are registered by the commissioner as composite vehicles. On and after July 1, 2002, such regulations shall exempt from the periodic inspection requirement any vehicle four or less model years of age, beginning with model year 2003 and the previous three model years, provided that such exemption shall lapse upon a finding by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency or by the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation that such exemption causes the state to violate applicable federal environmental or transportation planning requirements. Notwithstanding any provisions of this subsection, the commissioner may require an initial emissions inspection and compliance or waiver prior to registration of a new motor vehicle. If the Commissioner of Environmental Protection finds that it is necessary to inspect motor vehicles which are exempt under subdivision (1) or (4) of this subsection, or motor vehicles that are four or less model years of age in order to achieve compliance with federal law concerning emission reduction requirements, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to require the inspection of motorcycles, designated motor vehicles having a gross weight of more than ten thousand pounds or motor vehicles four or less model years of age.
Regarding the Property Tax Limit:
Section 12-71(b) states:
(b) Except as otherwise provided by the general statutes, property subject to this section shall be valued at the same percentage of its then actual valuation as the assessors have determined with respect to the listing of real estate for the same year, except that any antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, as amended by this act, shall be assessed at a value of not more than five hundred dollars. The owner of such antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle may be required by the assessors to provide reasonable documentation that such motor vehicle is an antique, rare or special interest motor vehicle, provided any motor vehicle for which special number plates have been issued pursuant to section 14-20, as amended by this act, shall not be required to provide any such documentation. The provisions of this section shall not include money or property actually invested in merchandise or manufacturing carried on out of this state or machinery or equipment which would be eligible for exemption under subdivision (72) of section 12-81 once installed and which cannot begin or which has not begun manufacturing, processing or fabricating; or which is being used for research and development, including experimental or laboratory research and development, design or engineering directly related to manufacturing or being used for the significant servicing, overhauling or rebuilding of machinery and equipment for industrial use or the significant overhauling or rebuilding of other products on a factory basis or being used for measuring or testing or metal finishing or in the production of motion pictures, video and sound recordings.
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