Legislative Strategy Agenda 2016
At the 2015 Motorcycle Riders Foundation’s (MRF) 31st annual Meeting of the Minds Conference held in Milwaukee, WI, a Legislative Strategy Session was hosted by the MRF’s Legislative Committee. As has been done for the past several years, the MRF requested that it be attended by Sustaining State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (SSMRO) Legislative and/or Executive Officers. We welcomed several representatives from our Sustaining Motorcycle Clubs and Organizations as well. The goal was to set the MRF’s Federal Legislative Agenda for the 2015 Meeting of the Minds to the 2016 Meeting of the Minds annual cycle.
The MRF’s SSMRO partners responded once again with a majority attendance that resulted in a healthy dialogue focused on motorcycling. The MRF Legislative Committee remains extremely pleased at the aligned and clear direction we experienced again this year from our SSMRO partners. This level of agreement continues to allow for solid action plans to be developed by our Legislative Committee and our Board of Directors that can be effectively employed by our Government Relations Department and our SSMRO partners while in Washington D.C. and in working federal issues in their home states. Additionally, we continue to see productive gains in state legislative activities that support our federal efforts when it comes to protecting on-road motorcyclists, motorcycling, and its associated lifestyle.
The MRF Legislative Committee continued the practice instituted five years ago of recording one vote per SSMRO in attendance. A full breakdown of each vote will be printed in the upcoming issue of the MRF Reports. The session this year was moderated by MRF Vice President, Jay Jackson, with support from MRF Vice President of Government Relations & Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, and MRF President, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard.
- FAST reauthorization (the Highway Bill) – work to include Motorcycle 2010 type Grant Funding, continuation of the NHTSA Lobbying Ban, pursue reinstatement of the Motorcycle Advisory Council (MAC) to advise the FHWA, oppose any motorcycling related federal blackmails or federal sanctions contained in the highway bill; closely monitor for any action that would negatively impact motorcycles, motorcycling, and motorcyclists; seek to include HR1861 type language to ban motorcycle specific roadblock grant funding; seek to clarify ownership of “black box” data
- SAE Motorcycle Roadside Sound Test – The MRF to NOT promote the use of the SAE Sound Test as a National enforcement standard, majority considered this a state issue
- Continue monitoring the Federal Crash Causation study and the MSF Naturalistic study
- Strongly oppose any federal standard proposing stamping and certifying of motorcycle exhaust systems
- Work to discourage ALL forms of distracted driving, and oppose all forms of funding blackmails or withholding of funds as related to motorcyclists, watch this issue closely for motorcycle specific discriminatory language
- Continue participation at the federal level where the definition of a motorcycle is under review taking advantage of any opportunity available to enhance and further clarify
- MRF will oppose any motorcycling, motorcycle, or motorcyclist-based discriminatory legislation or rules proposed by the U.S. Congress or by a federal agency
- MRF to seek a legislative vehicle to include motorcyclist anti-profiling language this upcoming session
- Continue participation in motorcycle related activity in the European Union, United Nations, and Canada
- MRF to fiercely oppose any mandatory helmet or apparel standards
- MRF directed by our SSMRO’s to not support the use of ethanol fuels higher than E10 or any other newly developed fuel blends including alternative renewable fuels without further testing on motorcycle engines and obtaining specific recommendations from motorcycle manufacturers approving their use
- MRF to continue to ensure the inclusion of motorcycles in ongoing Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) emerging technologies
- Pursue safer roadway design strategies at the federal level
- Continue to promote our theme of crash avoidance versus safer crashing, using the principles of House Resolution 1498 urging NHTSA to focus on crash prevention and rider education
- MRF to pursue limiting funding in a relevant legislative vehicle of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for their increasing involvement in motorcycling safety issues
- MRF to monitor private organizations that oppose the legislative agenda or mission of the MRF and investigate their funding sources to make certain they are not receiving federal tax dollars
- MRF to monitor public organizations for funding sources when in opposition to our legislative agenda or mission, respond appropriately if they receive federal tax dollars
- MRF to monitor and report on non-transportation federal agencies becoming increasingly involved in motorcycling such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
- MRF to continue to closely monitor the federally mandated Affordable Health Care Act for potential motorcyclist and motorcycling discrimination
- MRF to fully engage the EPA on upcoming activity on motorcycle emission regulations and motorcycle drive train mandates
- MRF to support the Black Box Protection Act to regulate black boxes in motorcycles, seek to clarify the rights of the vehicle owner to ownership of the recorded data
- MRF to monitor fair tolling concepts on federally funded roads and roads supported by federal bonds
- MRF to seek to add clarification of an “autocycle” as third class of vehicle at the federal level
- Lane splitting was discussed and decided it should remain a state by state issue with the MRF providing resources, there is no federal lane splitting initiative at this time
- Federal Agency Motorcycle Design Standards – MRF to oppose non motorcycle manufacturer mandated specific design standards
- SSMRO’s by discussion and vote requested the MRF engage with multiple partners to draft federal anti-profiling language specific to motorcyclists and work to include it in the upcoming Congressional session
- Request for MRF Sustaining Member Motorcycle Club Committee to lead an effort to provide resources to clarify the usage of the terms gang, club, known associate, associate when referring to motorcyclists
- There was agreement that there would be an effort by the MRF and SSMRO’s to get non-motorcycle powered two- and three-wheelers such and mopeds, scooters, and the various cabin-based steering wheel type vehicles removed from motorcycle crash statistics.
- There was discussion on the novelty helmet educational promotional campaign by NHTSA to the Law Enforcement Community and it was decided the SSMRO’s should be educating their members on the definition of a helmet as practically used in their states
With the current U.S. Congress, combined with our comprehensive and aggressive legislative agenda, the MRF Legislative Committee strongly encourages our SSMRO partners and our MRF members to actively engage in a lively motorcycling dialogue with their U.S. House of Representative and U.S. Senate Members as an immediate priority. We will need our strong presence to continue with this Congress. If your SSMRO needs any assistance in planning a trip to Washington D.C. to begin or strengthen the dialogue with your members of Congress, contact the MRF Washington D.C. office at 202-546-0983. We would also like to encourage you to finalize your plans to attend our national biker lobby day event in Washington D.C., Bikers Inside the Beltway, on Thursday May 12th, 2016. See our website at www.mrf.org for more details.
MRF Legislative Committee Members:
Dave “DAD” Dwyer, George Gorman, Lenny Holcomb, Ryan Hubbard, Jay Jackson, Jim “Legs” Korte, Boyd McFail, Bob Myers, Todd Riba, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard (Chair)