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MRF Updates

Motorcycle Checkpoint Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

The United States Senate is seeking to end the unfair practice of federally funded motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints, reports the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF). Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has introduced legislation, which would further prohibit the federal government from funding mandatory motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints. Joining her as the lead republican on the bill is Senator Ron Johnson. Also joining, as original co-sponsors, are Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).

The federal government funded motorcycle-only checkpoints through a $70,000 grant in 2011. Georgia state police conducted two mandatory motorcycle only checkpoints. They timed the checkpoints with Daytona Florida bike week traffic setting up on the southbound lanes of I-75 and I-95 on March 9th 2012, the same day Daytona bike week began. They did the same setup during the closing day, but set up in the northbound lanes.

The MRF supports this legislation to end these checkpoints whole-heartedly and will be working with the United States Senate to pass this important legislation.

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Motorcycle Riders Foundation Congratulates ABATE of Illinois

On Wednesday, February 26th ABATE of Illinois made history. They successfully lobbied for a resolution that was passed by the State House of Representatives. The resolution throws the weight of the general assembly behind a federal bill that would conduct a scientific study on the effects of the new blend of fuel known as E15. This new blend is up from the previously approved blend of E10 fuel that contains up to 10% ethanol.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the waiver that allowed for the sale of E15 they did not study the effects of the blend on the internal components of an engine. In fact, motorcycles are not even on the list of vehicles approved by the EPA to use the new blend. Using the blend in a motorcycle, boat, lawn mower etc could be a violation of federal law as they were not included in the waiver.

The Illinois general assembly resolution supports H.R. 875, a bill in the United States House of Representatives that would halt the sale of E15 until an independent scientific study is conducted on the effects of E15 on motorcycles and every other vehicle. Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI) sponsored the bill.

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The Taxman Cometh

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a proposed rule that would affect the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and every other advocacy group with the same tax status. The MRF has what is known as 501(C) 4 tax status, this means the MRF can be involved in political activities, however donations to the MRF are not tax deductible for the person or group that donates the money.

Recently the IRS seems to be unfairly targeting conservative tea party type groups. Now its time to punish everyone because the current IRS does not care for the way that some of these groups have been successful in getting out the vote and raising money. 501(c) 4’s are named after the section of U.S. code that defines them. Some of the tea party type groups are also in the (c) 4 grouping, as a “social welfare” group.

The 501(c) 4 is the segment of the nonprofit world best known for organizations like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the liberal group, Priorities USA. 501(c) 4’s are in fact made up of over 86,000 mostly small organizations nationwide, some of which are almost certainly active participants in our own community’s civic life. They weren’t invented in the last election cycle; they’ve been around for generations. Their purpose isn’t to hide donors; it’s to advance policies. The big famous guys and the shady newcomers get all the attention, but they aren’t typical of the sector, any more than Justin Bieber reflect the experience of the bulk of the people making a living in the music industry. It is true that political spending has skyrocketed since 2008 in the (c) 4 category and that some reform to those groups spending astronomical amounts of money for election purposes is warranted.

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CDC Responds to Congressional Letter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have responded to the Congressional letter sent by long time motorcycle advocate and Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) champion Tomas Petri (R-WI). The letter asked the CDC to focus on areas relative to their expertise and not involve themselves in any way with motorcycle safety. Petri was joined by fellow Congressmen Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Davis (R-IL), Runyan (R-NJ), Harris (R-MD), Ribble (R-WI), Griffin (R-AR), Walberg (R-MI), Kline (R-MN), Paulsen (R-MN), and Peterson (R-MN).

The letter also asked the CDC to leave motorcycle safety to the relevant federal agencies such as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation.

The CDC response is predictable government product. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the first 30 years of human life and “how the CDC is uniquely positioned as the nation’s public health protection agency to ensure the most current science is available to keep people safe”.

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