Congress Makes Progress in Stopping the Lead Ban for Youth Off-Road Vehicles
May 2011 Legislative Update
June 2010 Legislative Update: Click here
From Fred Brown 4/2010
INTAGE SNOWMOBILES: Legislation has been introduced in the House, HB 1171 and the Senate SB 1078 to create vintage snowmobile program within the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Under the provisions of HB 1171, individuals that own snowmobiles older than 25 years would be permitted to purchase a lifetime permit for $10 from DCNR. Owners that obtain a vintage permit would not be required to obtain a title, display numbers or decals and would not be required to obtain liability insurance.
Since the introduction of the legislation, PSSA has had several meetings with the Department staff, staff of and the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee as well as the bills sponsor, Representative Mike Hanna and his team. The Department initially wanted a permit fee of $75, require the owner to obtain a title, liability insurance and language that would not have allowed you to ride your vintage snowmobile anywhere in Pennsylvania.
As a result of the intervention of the Representative Hanna and Chairman Markosek and steadfastness of PSSA the Department has come down to $35, no title required, however, you must be able to show that your vintage sled is over 25 years and you will need liability insurance for your vintage sled. With a permit you will be able to ride your vintage sled in vintage rallies and events only.
House Bill 1171 is scheduled for House Transportation Committee action on April 21 at 9:30am in Room 60 East Wing of the main Capitol Building.
PSSA does not support the $35 proposed fee and will continue to oppose it.
TRAIL MAINTENANCE: House Bill 1170 and Senate Bill 1079 introduced by Representative Mike Hanna and Senator Bob Robbins respectively, would require DCNR to maintain joint use forest roads and trail so that snowmobiling would not be impeded or impacted by other uses. It would require DCNR to set uniform standards across forest districts and would require grooming to be performed at night.
DCNR is adamantly opposed to this legislation. PSSA and Representative Hanna remain committed to see that the Department fulfills the requirements outlined in the legislation. HB 1170 is in the House Transportation Committee. Senate Bill 1079 introduced by Sen. Bob Robbins was referred to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS SAFETY COMMISSION: Last year following the reenactment of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission began enforcing an obscure provision of the act that prohibited the sale snowmobiles, ATVs and off-road motorcycles for use by individuals 12 and younger. Joining with the AMA, the Motorcycle Industry Council and other motorized recreational vehicle organizations, PSSA sought the introduction of resolutions in the House and Senate to memorialize Congress to pass legislation to remove those vehicles from the requirements of the act. To date, three resolutions have been introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Senate Resolution 153 was introduced by Sen. John Wozniak (D) and passed by the Senate on October 9, 2009. The resolution was transmitted as directed on October 28, 2009. House Resolution 242 introduced by Rep. Bill DeWeese and was referred to the House committee on consumer affairs. As a result of a change in status of the stay on the enforcement of the CPSA, a second resolution was necessary to be introduced. Rep. Mike Hanna House introduced House Resolution 572; this resolution was also referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee. Rep. Hanna, as well as, the Motorcycle Dealers Association, PSSA and the Pennsylvania Off-Highway Vehicle Association have written to Chairman Preston urging him to move House Resolution 572.
LANDOWNER LIABILITY: Following up on legislation introduced in the last session amending the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act, PSSA has turned once again Rep. Mike Hanna for his support. House Bill 2180 was introduced on December 17, 2009 and was referred to the House Recreation and Tourism Committee. House Bill 2180 would amend RULWA to include snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles to the definition of recreational use. The bill would include “…bridges, fishing piers, boat docks, paths and ramps and other structures that provide accessibility to persons with disabilities…” to the definition of land. In addition, the definition of charge would be expanded to include: The term includes a monetary contribution for maintenance of the land paid by a person who enters or goes upon the land for recreational purposes. I believe that this addition was unintended in the context in which it's written. I believe it should read "The term does not include a monetary contribution for maintenance of the land paid by a person who enters or goes upon the land for recreational purposes."
The final provision of House Bill 2180 would provide that, “An owner of land who successfully defends an action for injury to person or property on the basis that section 4 of this act applies, shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees for defending the action.”
PSSA and Rep. Hanna will be meeting with Chairman Kirkland in the near future to seek action on the bill.
LIQUID FUELS TAX FUNDING: Since the passage of authorizing legislation in 2005, DCNR has received $1million dollars in liquid fuels taxes transferred to the restricted receipts account under Chapter 77 of Title 75.
These funds are to be used to support the snowmobile / ATV program as outlined in Chapter 77. Again this year, the Governor has provided $1 million in liquid fuels taxes in his 2010/2011 General Fund Budget. However, as a result of the failure of the state to be granted tolling rights of Interstate 80, all options to fund state highway and bridge projects are on the table. This may include the elimination of all refunds, including, those funds that go to DCNR for snowmobile and ATV related projects.
CAPITAL BUDGET: House Bill 2291is capital budget bill for 2010-2011. A capital budget bill is essentially a wish list of deferred maintenance projects and construction projects for various departments of state government. Many of these projects will not be funded. However, contained in this document is an appropriation of $300,000 for the Oil Creek State Park Missing Link hiking trail in the southern portion.
The project is reportedly to be paid for from the snowmobile/ATV restricted receipts account. As you know, funds held in the restricted receipts account are for the snowmobile/ATV program only. Inquiries have been made to DCNR, as well as, the General Assembly in an effort to clarify this project and a proper funding source to accomplish it.