Current CMRA Legislative Efforts

05/07/22:Attention CMRA members: Legislative Session has ended.

Public Act No. 22-44: AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES AND VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE MOTOR VEHICLE STATUTES.

This substitute for Senate bill SB 333, has been passed by the legislature.

What appears to have happened is that the two original bills

SB 484: AN ACT CONCERNING EMISSIONS AND DECIBEL LEVEL TESTING FOR MOTOR VEHICLES AND THE TAXATION OF CERTAIN MOTORCYCLES AND MOTORCYCLE MUFFLERS.

and

HB 5422: AN ACT CONCERNING MOTOR VEHICLE NOISE.

have been allowed to die, and instead an ammendment to SB 333 was made to include the following:

 

 Sec. 18. Subsection (c) of section 14-80a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2022):

(c) The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall, with the advice of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, establishing (1) the maximum decibel levels permissible for motor vehicles, which shall not exceed the maximum decibel levels established for motor vehicles by federal law or regulation, [. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall establish] and (2) the procedure for [checking] testing maximum decibel levels. [The decibel level shall be measured fifty feet from the centerline of the vehicle. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may provide for measuring at distances closer than fifty feet from the centerline of the vehicle. In such a case, the measuring devices shall be calibrated to provide for measurements equivalent to the noise limit established by this section measured at fifty feet.] The commissioner shall amend such regulations to reflect industry standards and advancements in technology and shall submit the amended regulations to the standing legislative regulation review committee under section 4-170 not later than January 1, 2024.

 Sec. 19. (Effective July 1, 2022) Not later than January 1, 2023, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall submit, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, a plan to implement a state-wide decibel level testing program for motor vehicles and motorcycles at official emissions inspection stations, as defined in section 14-164b of the general statutes, and any recommendations for legislation and funding necessary for such implementation, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to transportation, appropriations and the budgets of state agencies and finance, revenue and bonding.

 

All above text enclosed in square brackets "[]" is text in the existing law that is to be removed, while all underlined text is text that is to be added.

What this means is that, while there are no immediate changes, we are guaranteed to have to deal with this matter again in a future Legislative Session.


04/19/22: Attention CMRA members:

SB 16: AN ACT ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE.

This is the substitute bill passed out of Committee.

The name has been changed, and the language relating to "reducing motorcycle injuries" appears to have been removed. We still need to stay alert to possible attempts to reintroduce that language in a separate bill.

04/08/22: Attention CMRA members:

SB 16: AN ACT ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE AND JUVENILE CRIME.

This bill has already been passed out of Committee.

Among other things, this bill (near the very end) will establish a special "Office of Injury Prevention" within the Department of Public Health, the stated purposes of which include reference to "reducing motorcycle injuries". While this is a worthy goal, for more than forty years, whenever a government agency has been tasked with issues of motorcycle safety, that nearly always results in promotion of helmet laws.

For this reason, we need to keep an eye on the way that this "Office" proceeds in their interpretation of their duties.


04/08/22: Public Hearing on SB 484 - update:

In spite of the fact that virtually all public testimony was in opposition, the Finance Committee voted (35 to 14) in favor of this bill.

Keep letting your own legislators know if you are opposed to this being adopted into law.

03/30/22: Attention CMRA members and Dealers:

SB 484: AN ACT CONCERNING EMISSIONS AND DECIBEL LEVEL TESTING FOR MOTOR VEHICLES AND THE TAXATION OF CERTAIN MOTORCYCLES AND MOTORCYCLE MUFFLERS.

This bill is essentially a repeat of last year's SB 1103 (see below under 05/17/21)

SB 484 would make motorcycles subject to the CT emissions test, require a noise test at the time of the emission test (all vehicles), levy an incremental sales tax of 50% on the cost of after market exhaust pipes exceeding federal standards and levy another 50% increase in the sales tax on any motorcycle sold with non-conforming exhaust pipes.

    We urge you to oppose SB 484 using the following arguments:
  • 1. SB 484 is a user tax on a vehicle class that emits substantially lower emissions than automobiles and trucks; there is no environmental problem posed by motorcycles requiring an emission test.
  • 2. Virtually every motorcycle manufactured and sold in the U. S. must meet current EPA standards with respect to emission levels which were updated in 2006 and meet strict CA standards.
  • 3. No other state requires an emissions test for motorcycles.
  • 4. With regards to noise testing and the suggested penalties, CT already has noise requirement laws with associated penalties.
  • 5. The noise testing contained in SB 484 will not be an effective measure as it is relatively easy to remove non-compliant pipes and replace with the stock muffler pipes especially when the testing date is known, whereas the current statute allows the ticket to be issued while the non-compliant exhaust pipes are in use.

In summary, SB 484 does not accomplish the intended goals but levies a user "tax" on motorcycles with a projected cost from the Office of Fiscal Analysis of more than $2.0 million dollars.

Please vote "NO" on SB 484.

Remember to say "Thank you" to your state legislators and be polite.

If you need information on who your state legislators are or how to e-mail or call them, use this link to find out.

Unfortunately we did not hear about this until today, when it has already been included in today's Public Hearing before the Finance Committee. Time is of the essence so please reach out to your legislators ASAP!

Special thanks to Pat from the CCMC for bringing this to my attention.


03/26/22: Good News! The language that would have imposed a mandatory helmet law for all motorcyclists was removed from HB05255 before it was voted on by the Transportation Committee!

The text of the bill as reported out of Committee is available here.

While this is a substantial victory, we must, of course, remain constantly alert for attempts to insert similar language into other bills,

03/18/22: Public Hearing on HB5255 - update:

A video of the 03/07/22 public hearing before the Transportation committee is now available here.

This was a six hour long hearing, with most of the time spent on other bills and issues, but the testimony relating to mandatory helmet laws appears at the following approximate times: 1:25-1:42 (that's starting at one hour and twenty-five minutes into the video) Rich Paukner - opposed; 2:59-3:10 Geoff Viscount - opposed; 3:43-3:47 Alec Slatky - in favor; 5:52-5:57 Ryder FitzGerald - opposed.

03/07/22: Public Hearing on HB5255:

Special thanks to Rich Paukner, Geoff Viscount, and Ryder FitzGerald, all of whom gave testimony to oppose the language mandating helmet use for ALL motorcyclists at the public hearing before the Transportation Committee.

If any of the Transportation Committee members are from your Legislative district(s) it is very important to let them know how you feel about this!

Please let your legislators know that they need to pay more attention to their constituents wishes.

03/05/22: Attention CMRA members:

HB5255: AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.

Section 2 (line 35) of this proposed legislation would remove the words "under eighteen years of age", thus requiring ALL motorcyclists to wear helmets.

As usual, there was hardly any advance warning, and the "Public Hearing" is scheduled for Monday, March 7 (yep, this coming Monday).

To further complicate matters, because of continuing health concerns, this "Public" hearing is being conducted via Zoom, rather than in person.

If you wish to speak, you must sign up now.

If you are unsure of who your legislators are or how to contact them, they can be found here.

Partly due to short notice and apparent changes in the way the Connecticut Legislature is handling things now, it's not clear if there is any way to submit written testimony at this time.

If any of the Transportation Committee members are from your Legislative district(s) it is very important to let them know how you feel about this!

Please let your legislators know that they need to pay more attention to their constituents wishes.


Previous CMRA Legislative Efforts

05/17/21: Attention CMRA members and Dealers:

SB 1103: AN ACT CONCERNING EMISSIONS AND DECIBEL LEVEL TESTING AND THE TAXATION OF CERTAIN MOTORCYCLES AND PARTS.

This bill is moving toward passage unless we act quickly to make our voices heard by every State Representative and State Senator representing each of us. SB 1103 would make motorcycles subject to the CT emissions test, require a noise test at the time of the emission test (all vehicles), levy an incremental sales tax of 50% on the cost of after market exhaust pipes exceeding federal standards and levy another 50% increase in the sales tax on any motorcycle sold with non-conforming exhaust pipes.

    We urge you to oppose SB 1103 using the following arguments:
  • 1. SB 1103 is a user tax on a vehicle class that emits substantially lower emissions than automobiles and trucks; there is no environmental problem posed by motorcycles requiring an emission test.
  • 2. Virtually every motorcycle manufactured and sold in the U. S. must meet current EPA standards with respect to emission levels which were updated in 2006 and meet strict CA standards.
  • 3. No other state requires an emissions test for motorcycles.
  • 4. With regards to noise testing and the suggested penalties, CT already has noise requirement laws with associated penalties.
  • 5. The noise testing contained in SB 1103 will not be an effective measure as it is relatively easy to remove non-compliant pipes and replace with the stock muffler pipes especially when the testing date is known, whereas the current statute allows the ticket to be issued while the non-compliant exhaust pipes are in use.

In summary, SB 1103 does not accomplish either goals but levies a user "tax" on motorcycles with a projected cost from the Office of Fiscal Analysis of more than $2.0 million dollars.

Please vote "NO" on SB 1103.

Remember to say "Thank you" to your state legislators and be polite.

If you need information on who your state legislators are or how to e-mail or call them, use this link to find out.

Time is of the essence so please reach out to your legislators ASAP!

Richard Paukner

04/20/21: There was strong opposition to this bill at the public hearing, in spite of which this bill was moved forward.

Please let your legislators know that they need to pay more attention to their constituents wishes.

02/23/20: The Public Hearing on SB00148 has definitely been rescheduled to Friday, February 28, 11:00 am in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building. See directions near the bottom of this page.

02/21/20: Public Hearing on SB00148 appears to have been rescheduled to Friday, February 28, at 11:00 am. Please try to be there. Be aware that all attendees will be required to pass through a metal detector, so come prepared for that. You can also send written testimony to: tratestimony@cga.ct.gov to let the Transportation Committee know your feelings on this Bill.

02/20/20: The CMRA is presently watching the following bill:

SB00148: AN ACT REQUIRING THE USE OF HELMETS BY MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE.

It appears that a public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 26 at the Legislative Office Building located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford (See directions near the bottom of this page). Plan to be there!

 

06/07/19: The CT General Assembly officially adjourned the 2019 regular legislative session on Wednesday, June 5th. House Bill 6161, an act proposing mandatory motorcycle helmet use by those riders under 21 failed to be voted on by the Senate. House Bill 7140 which originally contained a universal helmet law requirement never left the Transportation Committee.

A special session of the legislature will be announced soon to deal with the issues of tolls and other possible matters like a casino in Bridgeport. It is extremely unlikely the issue of mandating helmet use by adults will be included.

The helmet issue unfortunately will be back whether it's next year or in 2021. Our opponents have built a small coalition of medical personnel, police officers and a motorcycle instructor who seem hell-bent on this issue. Rep. Gilchrest is their ally in the House and publicly voiced her opinion on the House floor in the debate that this "is only the beginning". Jim Duffy and I have already begun discussions as to what is the best strategy to deal with the 2020 legislative session.

Many thanks to all who supported us by attending the monthly meetings, spending a day at the Capitol back in February when the public hearing was held, contacting their legislators and contributing to the cause. Our victory is testament to the integrity and strength the CMRA has earned over the past 40 years thanks to our members, our leaders and of course, Jim Duffy, our lobbyist since the 1980's.

 

05/14/19: HB-6161 (without further amendments) was voted on and passed by the House with a substantial majority. It will now move to the Senate where it may or may not be scheduled for a vote. If no vote by session end date, it dies on the calendar. If scheduled for a vote it remains subject to proposed Senate amendments. If an amendment is approved on a separate vote, the amended language is incorporated into the bill and voted on by the Senate. If HB 6161, as amended, is passed by Senate, it will be sent back to the House for another vote. We will be keeping a close watch on this.

 

04/27/19: Here's a video of the April 25 Distracted Driving Forum, hosted by State Senator Tony Hwang. This will probably only be availabe for a week or so. CMRA comments start at minute 56 and run approximately 5 minutes till hour 1, minute 1.

 

04/21/19: Check out this largely-pro-helmet-law article that appeared in Newsday, and possibly other places. As Rich Paukner commented "It aint over till it's over.". We still urge you to contact your legislators (find them here) to express your opposition to any further attempts to mandate helmet use by adults.

State Senator Tony Hwang is hosting a couple of Distracted Driving Forums on April 25 and 30. See our Upcoming Events page for more details.

Please join me and others at the April 25 forum in Newtown. This is a great opportunity to move our relationship with Senator Hwang forward. Note: pre-registration is required for this free event, which can be done here. Use "Register" button to the right of the page. Please don't just show up without pre-registering - you may not get in!

Rich Paukner - CMRA Legislative Spokesperson

 

AN ACT CONCERNING EMISSIONS AND DECIBEL LEVEL TESTING AND THE TAXATION OF CERTAIN MOTORCYCLES AND PARTS.

GREAT NEWS!

What's Next?

03/22/19: I am happy to report that we have confirmed with the House Chairman of the Transportation Committee that the universal helmet requirement originally contained in HB 7140 was indeed removed from the substitute version that was voted and passed by the Committee on Wednesday March 21st. IT IS NO LONGER NECESSARY TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS ON THE THREAT OF A UNIVERSAL HELMET LAW REQUIREMENT IN CT. However, we still urge you to contact your legislators (find them here) in support of HB 6161 which would mandate the use of helmets by those riders and passengers under the age of 21 and express your opposition to any further attempts to mandate helmet use by adults.

I also had a nice chat with House Chairman Lemar offering our support and assistance in working with him to continue to improve motorcycling safety in CT which he welcomed and appreciated.

You may also want to visit Bud Wilkinson's latest commentary on the CMRA and the 2019 helmet law fight at RIDE-CT to see the opposition's fervor and resolve to defeat us and trash our reputation.

Rich Paukner - CMRA Legislative Spokesperson

Here is a current list of all State Senators and Representatives, along with their districts and links to their websites where contact info can be found.

Our Legislative Dinner was a success - thanks to all who attended, and to the people who made donations.

Some of our CMRA representatives at the Transportation Committee hearing on February 25, 2019.

Photo by: Geoff Viscount © 2019.

Thanks!

By: Geoff Viscount

Again, as he has in the past, Richard Paukner has shown his impeccable skills as a true diplomat and consistent leader of the CMRA. On Monday, February 25, 2019, at a recent public hearing in the Transportation Committee for HB 7140, he performed with an incredible degree of excellence to rebuke a proposed piece of legislation that would require motorcycle operators of all ages to wear helmets at all times in order to operate their motorcycles. Rich, as I have previously stated publicly, enough cannot be said for your consistent and valued contribution to our organization. I truly feel that without your expertise and grasp of not only a fantastic degree of public speaking, but also the diplomacy it takes to win over the elected leaders with facts and figures, rather than appeal to them through emotion and misleading statements, this organization would have an unbelievably more difficult mountain to climb in our efforts to keep "freedom of choice" as the rule in Connecticut. My gratitude will always be forthcoming to you for your efforts that have always gone above and beyond the call.

 

Thanks to everyone who attended, submitted testimony, or contacted Legislators to let tham know how we feel!

Our new Governor, Ned Lamont, has publicly stated he would like to see Connecticut enact a universal helmet law for all motorcycle riders, regardless of age, not just those under eighteen. There has been a large turnover in the Connecticut State Legislature, and we have lost several long-time friends. We believe the risk of passage of such a proposed bill is very high.

The CMRA is presently watching the following bills:

HB07140: AN ACT CONCERNING RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REGARDING SEAT BELTS, MOTORCYCLE HELMETS, THE OPERATION LIFESAVER PROGRAM, MAINTENANCE VEHICLES AND TRANSPORTATION STATUTES.

This bill includes language that requires ALL motorcyclists to wear helmets. The CMRA has always opposed such bills.

HB06161: AN ACT REQUIRING THE USE OF HELMETS BY MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE.

The CMRA believes it may be in our best interests to back this proposal, BUT, with a "line drawn in the sand" - meaning this is not a compromise that is subject to future revision. The new Governor has made it clear that he would support and sign a universal helmet law; we look at this as a compromise that may be acceptable. It would give the Governor and supportive Legislators a sense of accomplishment, while leaving those of us 21 and older with the freedom to still choose.

A Public Hearing was held for both of the above bills on Monday, 02/25/19 at the Legislative Office Building located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford (See directions near the bottom of this page). Many of our members were present and gave testimony.

 

Let your Legislators know how you feel. If you don't know who your Legislators are, use this link to find out.

Here is a current list of Transportation Committee members, along with their districts and links to their websites where contact info can be found. If any of these are YOUR representatives, it is especially important to let them know how you feel about this and any other motorcycle-related bills, as all such bills usually go first to the Transportation Committee. Similar info for all other State Senators and Representatives is also on this list.

 

The CMRA Legislative Committee appeared in Hartford in opposition to the following proposed bill:

HB 6048: AN ACT REQUIRING THE USE OF HELMETS BY MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS.

Heard on February 15th, 2017 (Transportation Committee) - Opposing testimony was given by CMRA members Rich Paukner, and Mike Joyce. They were supported by a number of other CMRA members. Thanks!

 


Other Resources:


Here is where to find your State Representative and State Senator.


Most Public Hearings are held at the Legislative Office Building located at 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford.

Traveling on I-84 East

  • Take Exit 48, Capitol Avenue, get into the right lane of the exit ramp.
  • At the end of the exit ramp turn right onto Capitol Avenue.
  • Take the first right past the Legislative Office Building, proceed to the back of the garage and take a right to enter the garage using the left hand lane (employees) or the right hand lane (visitors).

Traveling on I-84 West

  • Take Exit 48, Asylum Street, at the end of the exit ramp turn right at the light onto Asylum Street.
  • At the YWCA turn left onto Broad Street, proceed through two stop lights, immediately after the Armory building take the first left and then another left at the end of the short access road.
  • Follow this road around the garage to the back and take a right to enter the garage using the left hand lane (employees) or the right hand lane (visitors).

Traveling on I-91 North or South

  • Take Exit 29A, Capitol Avenue, proceed through the Pulaski Circle at the end of the long exit road. Take a right on Elm Street and turn left at Trinity Street.
  • Go past the Capitol building and the I-84 entrance ramp, all on your right.
  • Take the first right past the Legislative Office Building, proceed to the back of the garage and take a right to enter the garage using the left hand lane (employees) or the right hand lane (visitors).

Parking

  • Limited public parking is available on the first floor of the parking garage. Exit the first floor of the parking garage and proceed to the west entrance (facing Broad Street) to the Legislative Office Building.
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