Legislative Update - Ryan Hochmiller
In 2017, I proposed the chairman form a legislative committee to keep an eye on US Bills and regulations being proposed and tossed around that could have a direct impact on us collectively, good or bad. I believe such a committee will have a positive impact and at times, sometimes unexpectedly, would bring big value to our group. What I want to present here today is a fraction of the hundreds of bills that are proposed and sent through the legislative and regulatory processes, and is only a small number of issues that should be brought forward to our membership, whether its simply newsworthy topics, or legislative actions on which we should act on in one way or another.
Starting in late 2017 to recent 2018, with the help of the ARA's legislative and lobbying department, among select others, I started reviewing and tracking US legislation and Federal regulations.
One such example, albeit small, was further regulations on refrigerants. As of January 1st 2018, a 2nd phase regulation went info effect, affecting the sale, purchase and/or handling of refrigerants, including R134a. You are exempt from these new regulations if and only if your business does not sell refrigerants or if your business sells motor vehicle air conditioning refrigerants in small cans with the following attributes: 1) the cans must each be 2 pounds or less; 2) the cans must be equipped with a self-sealing valve. If you are selling refrigerants outside of those parameters, these regulations pertain to you and they require that you only sell to technicians certified under Sections 608 or 609 under the Clean Air Act. Phase 1 of this regulation which took effect in 2016/2017 which may affect some of us.
Another issue I covered this year relates primarily to the dismantlers in our group. It's the mercury switch end of life program. The groups that sponsor the the Program have agreed to renew the it through the year 2021. The Mercury switch program, since its inception in 2005, has collected over 6.7 million switches to date—that’s about 7 tons of Mercury switches. In 2017, the program collected over 200,000 switches, and is on track to do so again this year. The program is convenient and cost-free to dismantlers and recyclers, and applies to most class 6-8 trucks.
Some of what I would hope the legislative committee would keep a pulse on is covering issue that are going on in individual states that could be, and are many times, replicated or copy-catted in other states and affect more and more of us as a result. These are often issues like tire storage and disposal laws, title branding laws, and use of aftermarket collision parts on insurance deals and repairs.
One example of newsworthy state activity in 2018 is the sting by a CA DMV strike team on 36 locations suspected of illegally dismantling vehicles without a dismantlers license in the Wilmington CA area. Every state is different in whether it requires a license of dismantlers, and CA has one of the strictest dismantlers license laws in the country, and a state that actually enforces their program on a regular basis. To those who spend the money, and willingly get on the good side of the government radar in CA, this is good news.
The final and biggest issue I'll mention today is the glider kit repeal rule proposed by the most recent head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt. I began following this issue, almost as it became one, in late 2017. Pruitt proposed a rule repealing emission standards and requirements pertaining to and restricting glider vehicles, engines and kits. Under EPA rules imposed during the Obama administration, glider kits and components were being considered "new motor vehicles", "new motor vehicle engines," and "incomplete" new motor vehicles. Their production was limited to 300 per company, or less in some instances. This issue had it's share of hiccups and all the controversial details are in my reports included the newsletters this year. On May 20th of this yaea, after agreement from the board we supported the repeal be approved, the ITPA, in conjunction with the Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association, the Production Engine Remanufacturers Association, the Engine Builders Association, and Fitzgerald Glider Kits, signed and sent a letter to Director Mick Mulvaney at the Office of Management and Budget asking that the office approve the repeal without conducting an optional Regulatory Impact analysis, which it was wanting to perform before they approved the repeal. A little more than a month later, the EPA issued a "no action assurance" relating to Glider kit regulation, which effectively cancelled any enforcement and wound back parts of the Obama regulation, and which thy thought would buy them some time for getting the repeal approved. Later that month a district court got involved. As a result, the EPA rescinded their no action assurance. With backing of the President, the current acting head of the EPA is once again trying to the rule approved. If you feel compelled to be involved in this issue and want to help the effort, you should contact your representatives or Senators conveying your position on the subject. You may hear about the repeal before I'm able to report it to you, but we should expect to see that go through before the year's end.
Again, I'd like to give credit to the ARA for their ongoing support as we try to follow the pressing issues. If you would like any information regarding anything I mentioned, please email me at email@example.com, and if you would like to get involved with my committee, a committee of one currently, please make yourself known and lets get to work. If you have any helpful resources that might help me and my committee and the effort of tracking US law and regulations, to make the job of following such activity easier, input there is also welcome.
I'll leave you with this. Technology is changing incredibly fast, and OE"s and component manufacturers are evolving with it, including in proprietary development, not to mention the new players that are disrupting the playing field. There may come a point where we slowly become etched out of the picture, not only through their own means of doing so, but thru means of legislation and government regulation. And if we don't find and have a seat at the table, or know that table is even being set, we may very well be on the menu. I believe this is a good reason to keep our finger on the pulse of government. Thanks