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AMA News and Notes December 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011
American Motorcyclist Association
AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris by email at nharis@ama-cycle.org.  

Protect your right to ride! Volunteering is easier than you think, and it’s the right thing to do. To learn how you can help, visit us online at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Get Involved.

Sign up and stay informed! Electronic AMA Action Alerts and AMA News & Notes keep you up-to-date on hot topics, news affecting the motorcycling community and opportunities to communicate with your elected officials. By signing up to receive AMA Action Alerts, you will be notified when and how you can make a difference on important issues. Click here to see the most recent AMA Action Alerts, and click here to sign up.
 
You can also sign up to receive the monthly electronic edition of AMA News & Notes. Click here and check the “Sign me up for AMA's Government Relations News & Notes” box at the bottom of the page.
Plus, you can subscribe to our various e-newsletters. AMA Extra includes a summary of AMA news, and Hall of Fame Insider focuses on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Other event-specific e-newsletters go out at various times of the year.

Utilize AMA public service announcements (PSAs) featuring AMA Board member and actor Perry King. The print, video and audio PSAs are available free to the media and the public to distribute and promote. The PSAs address impaired riding, excessive motorcycle exhaust sound, the importance of proper safety gear and responsible and safe off-highway riding. They also deliver an important message to drivers to watch for motorcyclists on the road. To access the PSA messages, visit by clicking here.

Washington, D.C.: Help protect the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.) will be introducing legislation to amend the coming national transportation bill that would allow governors to take RTP funds away, along with other critical transportation dollars.
 
This bill would allow governors to declare a “transportation facility” to be in a state of emergency and subsequently use all of its state highway funds for that project. This would allow them to de-fund nearly the entire Federal-Aid Highway program at their own discretion. Not only the RTP, but the full Surface Transportation Program is directly threatened.
RTP is a “user-pay/user-benefit” program created to return a modest portion of the fuel taxes paid by off-highway vehicle owners to state trails programs. This program is a benefit to recreationists who use the trails system. RTP is also responsible for only 0.2 percent of the overall funding of the highway program.
Riders are asked to contact their representative immediately and tell them NOT to support Bucshon’s legislation to amend the highway bill.
Source and full story: capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=55419581  

Washington, D.C.: The AMA applauds U.S. RepJim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) for introducing a bill that calls for new research into the effects of certain ethanol-blended gasoline.
 
On Friday, Oct. 14, Sensenbrenner, who is vice chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, introduced H.R. 3199. This legislation would require the federal Environmental Protection Agency to seek an independent scientific analysis of the effects of E15 -- a new gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent alcohol by volume -- on engines.
 
The AMA and All-Terrain Vehicle Association have expressed serious concerns about E15 being mistakenly used and damaging engines in motorcycles and ATVs, and about the continued availability of gasoline that has no ethanol, or gasoline with only a 10 percent blend, that is safe for use in motorcycles and ATVs.
 
The organizations have also expressed concerns about the possibility that "blender pumps" that dispense multiple grades of gasoline through a single hose might introduce enough ethanol into gasoline to be used in a motorcycle or ATV to damage the vehicle; and that ethanol absorbs water, which could be harmful to motorcycles and ATVs.
Source and full story: capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=54681921  

Washington, D.C.: On Oct. 11, the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on H.R. 1996, the "Government Litigation Savings Act." To view testimony and an archive webcast of the hearing, click here.
 
H.R. 1996 and its companion legislation, Senate Bill 1061, were introduced on May 25 by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). This legislation seeks to prevent abuse of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) by large environmental groups and others who frequently challenge the federal government in court.
This legislation would return EAJA to its original intent by instituting targeted reforms on who is eligible to receive EAJA reimbursements, limit repeated lawsuits, and reinstate tracking and reporting requirements to make EAJA more transparent.

According to a press release issued by Lummis, "EAJA was passed as a permanent appropriation in 1980 in order to help individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations with limited access to financial resources defend themselves against harmful government actions. EAJA allows for the reimbursement of attorney's fees and costs associated with suing the federal government. When operating correctly, EAJA allows plaintiffs who sue the federal government to recover part of their attorney's fees and costs if they "prevail" in the case."
Source and full story: capwiz.com/amacycle/issues/alert/?alertid=49857501  

Springerville, Ariz.: Officials of the Black Mesa Ranger District want someone to form an Off-Highway Vehicle User’s Group to cooperate with the U.S. Forest Service to maintain existing motorized trails and propose new ones in the Forest Lakes area of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Officials hope to create a trail system that extends across the entire district, but community support is needed. For more information, contact Recreation Staff Officer Meckenzie Helmandollar at (928) 535-7300.
Source and full story: www.paysonroundup.com/news/2011/oct/28/forest-lakes-atv-trails-receive-facelift/  

Irvine, Calif.: The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) presented Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s Director of Public and Government Affairs Roger Hagie with the prestigious 2011 MIC Chairman’s Award at the MIC Communications Symposium held in Carson, California on Oct. 27.

For the past six years, the MIC has presented the annual Chairman’s Award to groups and individuals who have made special contributions of time, leadership and effort, to preserve, protect and promote the powersports community.
Prior to retiring this past summer, Hagie was an active member of the MIC Board of Directors, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Board of Trustees, the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America Board of Trustees and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association Board of Directors.
 
In addition to serving on these various association boards and their technical committees, Hagie also often functioned as chairman, vice chairman or secretary/treasurer.
Source and full story: www.mic.org/news103111.cfm  

Springfield, Ill.: A recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling allows legislators and the governor to take money from special state funds and use it to bolster the state’s general fund, but Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration said it has no plans to do so in the next budget year.
 
Justices voted 6-1 that it was legal for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to take $1.2 million from the Cycle Rider Safety Training Fund after a 2004 law gave him power to do so.
 
The state transfers a percentage of motorcycle registration fees into the fund each year to provide a safety training program. In August, the fund held about $10.8 million, according to the court’s opinion, which was written by Justice Anne Burke.
 
ABATE of Illinois sued after Blagojevich took the money, arguing that the Cycle Rider Safety Training Fund is an irrevocable private trust. The group argued that the fund might contain federal and private funds as well as state revenue and that it all became private once deposited. The court disagreed, saying there was no evidence that private or federal money was deposited into the fund.
 
Raiding special funds was a controversial way to deal with budget deficits during the Blagojevich administration. The court’s ruling, its first on the subject, opens the door to more raids.
Source and full story: www.foxillinois.com/news/illinois/Illinois-Supreme-Court-State-money-cannot-be-special-132774418.html  

Pickerington, Ohio: The on- and off-highway motorcycle sound resources page has been revamped on the AMA website. This includes information about Sound Advice, a document that addresses the excessive motorcycle sound issue, a video explanation of how to sound test a motorcycle, model legislation and more.
 
Since its inception in 1924, the AMA has maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. The AMA has funded information and public relations campaigns in support of quieter motorcycle use, and was the world’s first motorsports sanctioning body to regulate and reduce the sound level of racing vehicles.
Source and full story: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/SoundAdvice.aspx  


Corvallis, Ore.: Oregon State Police and the Linn County Sheriff's Office are asking for the public's help in finding the thieves who stole a Team Oregon motorcycle training safety program pickup and trailer loaded with motorcycles and scooters. The truck and trailer were taken from a secured lot on the Oregon State University campus and were recovered abandoned early the next day by Linn County deputies. However seven motorcycles and two scooters, which are used for the motorcycle safety training program, are still missing.
 
Anyone with any related information is asked to contact the OSP Oregon State University Area Command Office at (541) 737-3010. The lead investigator is Trooper Brittany Phelps.
Source and full story: www.kptv.com/story/15920192/trailer-full-of-motorcycles-stolen-from-osu-campus-lot  

Salem, Ore.: The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has added two new openings for representatives on the state’s All-Terrain Vehicle Advisory Committee. One position is slated for a representative from the side-by-side community and the other from the community of individuals with physical disabilities. For more information, including the application to become a representative, go to www.oregonohv.org.  


Luray, Va.: Virginia is now offering Shenandoah National Park dedicated motorcycle license plates. The plates can be ordered at Virginia DMV customer service centers, by mail, or online. Plates start at $25 and can be personalized. These are revenue sharing plates, meaning $15 of the $25 fee is transferred to Shenandoah National Park Trust for activities and programs in Virginia.
Source and full story: www.snptrust.org/2011/10/biker-bliss/

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