Current CMRA Legislative Efforts

Governor Lamont: State Capitol, 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut 06106. Phones: (860)566-4840 or 1(800)406-1527. Emails can be sent here.

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2024:

    

04/14/24: HB-5330 still on House calendar (as Calendar Number 0191, File Number 274), and will probably be considered this week (there are House sessions both Wednesday and Thursday) and it is extremely important to immediately contact all your legislators, particularly your Representatives, to try to either stop the bill entirely, or remove Section 15(b).

Perhaps slightly less important, the new wording that section 16(a) would add: "the date the motorcycle endorsement was issued by the commissioner and", should also be removed, or made to apply to ALL endorsements, not just motorcycle endorsements. As it stands it singles out motorcyclists in a discriminatory fasion.

04/08/24: HB-5330 has been moved to the House, on today's calendar (as Calendar Number 0191, File Number 274), and it is imperative to immediately contact all your legislators, particularly your Representatives, to try to either stop the bill entirely, or remove Section 15(b).

03/18/24: The Transportation Committee voted (22:14) today to pass HB5330, with the helmet law language intact! Contact your representatives, and urge them NOT to vote in favor of this bill unless that language is removed!

Show them this study and this one. Please note: due to the removal of several other sections of this bill, the section that we are concerned with now is 15(b), rather than 19(b) as it originally was.

03/14/24: This new study has been submitted as additional testimony on HB5330, and should also be brought to the attention of all Transportation Committee members as well as your own legislators.

03/01/24: We want as many of you as possible to sign up and attend the public hearing at 10:00 am on Monday! See directions at the bottom of this page.

You should all submit written testimony, even if it's just to say "Please remove Section 19(b) from HB5330, and do not propose any other new helmet laws for motorcyclists."

Similarly, as many of you as possible should sign up to speak at the Public Hearing, even if it's just to deliver the same simple message.

You may wish to submit and refer to this study, which shows the worthlessness of helmet laws.

02/29/24: Public hearing on HB5330 (see below) scheduled for this Monday, 03/04/24, at 10:00 am!

If you wish to attend/speak you can sign up here. If you wish to submit written testimony, you can do so here.

Please contact the Transportation Committee members, and ask that section 19(b) be removed from this bill.

02/28/24: Attention CMRA members:

HB5330: AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION.

Section 19(b) of this bill would add new language "No person issued a motorcycle endorsement for a period of three years after the date of issuance shall operate a motorcycle or a motor-driven cycle, unless such person and any passenger on such motorcycle or motor-driven cycle is wearing protective headgear described in subsection (a) of this section."

This amounts to an attempt to extend required helmet use for no discernible reason, while bypassing the issue of when a person is considered an adult able to make decisions for themselves.

You may want to contact your legislators, and ask them to oppose Section 19 (b) of HB5330.

02/23/24:

Well, it looks like we slipped by this round - no new bills trying to impose universal helmet laws, and no other bills that directly affect motorcyclists have been included in Monday's Public Hearing.

Of course between now and May 8, there will be plenty of opportunities for our opponents to raise such bills.

We will be keeping a close watch on the Connecticut General Assembly!

02/21/24: Transportation Committee Public Hearing Scheduled for Monday, 02/26/24

At the time of writing this, no bills have been raised that mention motorcycles in any way that we need to address, but this can change at any time!

If any such bills are raised by Friday, 02/23/24, they may be included in this hearing.

Check this page for any updates.

02/14/24: Mandatory Helmet bill likely to be introduced again!

The CT DOT is again planning to include a mandatory helmet law for all riders, regardless of age, in their budget proposal for 2024.

The first Transportation Committee meeting is scheduled for this Friday, February 16th. The helmet bill will likely be scheduled very soon for a public hearing so please check our website frequently for updates, and plan to attend the hearing at the Capitol Legislative Office Building to show your opposition by actually attending the hearing. The notice of the Public Hearing requires only 3 days notice.

More details will be posted here as the Committee sets a date and time for the Public Hearing in Hartford, likely by this Friday after the Committee meets for it’s initial meeting.

Watch this page, and check back often to see latest updates.

02/07/24: 2024 Legislative Session

The 2024 Connecticut Legislative Session is scheduled to run from February 7 through May 8. Historically, a short session such as this has usually worked in our favor, as legislators are too busy taking care of legitimate business to work on anti-motorcyclist issues but we must still remain vigilant, and keep reminding legislators that we are concerned voters and are keeping an eye on them.


Previous CMRA Legislative Efforts


2023:

    

08/21/23: News from the MRF

Will you ask your Senators to protect the internal combustion engine?

Members of Congress are in the middle of a 6-week break away from Washington, D.C. While lawmakers won’t return until after Labor Day, their staff are still working on several policy issues.

Earlier this year, the Biden Administration rolled out plans to shift this country to a majority electric vehicle market over the next ten years. In June, Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma introduced S. 2090, the "Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act." The bill would amend the Clean Air Act to prevent a ban on the sale of internal combustion engines, effectively trumping any state law that outlaws their sale. S. 2090 is the Senate’s version of H.R. 1435, which recently passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

While the House version of the bill is moving, the Senate version of the bill still needs more cosponsors. Will you ask your two Senators to protect the internal combustion engine?

Click here to contact your Senators and ask them to support S. 2090.

06/28/23: Thanks Again! By: Geoff Viscount

Once again this year we, as Connecticut's motorcyclists, faced a number of legislative issues on the State level that would have negatively impacted us, had they not been addressed and followed up on. What do they say: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."? Well, again, for more times than I can count since being a member of this great organization, this came to fruition. And stepping up to the plate, as he has done for so well over 40 years for countless times, our legislative l.eader, Richard Paulkner, came through with his persistence, expertise and common sense, to lead the charge. And right at his side, Ryder FitzGerald, with his stats and diligence, assisted in keeping the pressure on up in Hartford, to those who would strip our rights as adult motorcyclists away from us. I can only imagine that our group has had one of the most profound impressions of any group ever to represent themselves in the halls of the Capitol in Hartford. With the persistence of leaders looking out for their flock, these two, facing an uphill battle in the beginning of the session, won the war again. Kudos to the two of you, Richard and Ryder! You both have my eternal thanks and appreciation. I look forward to years of working with both of you in our fight to maintain our rights as adult motorcyclists, and not be railroaded by those with no experience, who think that they know what's best for us. Long live "Let Those Who Ride Decide"!

06/07/23: Good News! The 2023 legislative session ended with a nearly twelve hour final day. Happily, very little happened in the way of motorcycle related changes.

The final results for bills that we were watching is as follows: SB-96 died in committee; SB-97 died in committee; SB-955 died on the Senate floor; SB-1036 passed; SB-1195 passed; HB-5494 died in committee; HB-5917, the bill that was of most concern because, as raised, it would have imposed a mandatory helmet law for all motorcyclists, was amended to (among other things) eliminate that helmet law section before being passed; HB-5984 died in committee; HB-6166 died in committee; HB-6744 died in committee; HB-6745 died in committee. For details of these bills see the original mentions further down this page.

Of the bills that passed, SB-1036 will probably have minimal impact, but was somewhat worrisome as it mentions groups of motorcyclists in Hartford as one of it's targets. SB-1195 will have very little impact, but we are concerned about "autocycles" being grouped with "motorcycles", as it may result in crash data being skewed by any crashes that involve autocycles. And finally, as mentioned previously, HB-5917 had the offensive Section 3 removed before the bill was passed.

So, we can celebrate for now, but be prepared for more attacks on our freedom of choice in next year's session.

On another note, the MRF reports that Nebraska has become the 33rd State to repeal their helmet requirement for adult motorcyclists. This fact should be mentioned to your Legislators if further helmet laws get proposed next session.

05/23/23: Today the House discussed HB-5917, and an amendment was proposed that, among other things, removes Section 3 (the universal helmet law). The amendment was passed, and the bill (as amended) was also passed. This is Great News! However, before breaking out that rare vintage Champagne (or whatever you use to celebrate), keep in mind that the remaining bill itself will then go to the Senate, where (although unlikely) someone could propose an amendment that would reinstate Section 3. We are keeping a close watch on this, but are tentatively optimistic. I'll post more info as it becomes available.

05/05/23: In reviewing written testimony submitted by supporters of the helmet law, those who give reasons seem to always make claims that "ample evidence", or even "overwhelming evidence" shows that helmet laws reduce fatalities and serious injuries. This would be hard to argue against - IF IT WERE TRUE! And yet, they never actually submit any such evidence, which is not surprising, since it does NOT exist!

Unfortunately, Legislators typically do not know the facts. This is why it is extremely important that every Legislator, and the Governor, be supplied with a copy of this study. When contacting your Legislators and/or the Governor, send them a copy, and ask them to provide any actual evidence (actual data, not just unsupported hearsay) that supports helmet laws. I've said this before, but it is even more urgent now!

05/02/23: At yesterday's Appropriations Committee meeting, there were several bills of interest under consideration, most importantly HB-5917 which includes a mandatory helmet law provision for all motorcyclists.

Unfortunately, this bill was passed by this Committee (40 to 13). Here is the Vote Tally Sheet. What this means is that, should the bill be passed by the House and Senate, funding will be available to implement it. If you reach out to any of the Legislators on the Tally Sheet, try to keep in mind that a vote in favor does not mean that they are opposed to our position - in a bill of this complexity there are some parts that they may strongly favor whether or not they like section 3. Likewise, a vote against does not mean they are our supporters - they may dislike some other part of the bill.

Having the funding available greatly increases the chance that some form of this bill will, in fact, be passed.

Although it is pretty boring and tedious, those of you who are interested can see the meeting here. The sections of interest are 1) the first two minutes of opening remarks, in which Senator Osten makes it clear that this meeting, and the voting done at it, is strictly on the issue of funding the bill (should it pass) - NOT on the merits of the bill itself or any parts of it; and 2) the part where HB-5917 is being considered, which starts at approximately 2:04:20 (two hours and four minutes into the meeting), and ends at about 2:07:58. Two of those who voted in favor expressed some reservations about the bill itself - Representative Bolinsky (district 106) saying it needed more work, while Representative Felipe (district 130) voted in favor "for the moment". In keeping with the opening remarks, neither went in to any details, but if you are from either district, this is an opportunity to agree that the bill is flawed, and then encourage them to try to remove section 3.

The other bills on the agenda that we've been keeping an eye on were SB-1036, which was passed by this committee, and HB-6744, which they did not get around to dealing with, so it will probably appear on the agenda of some future Appropriations Committee meeting.

SB-1036: AN ACT ESTABLISHING A GREATER HARTFORD REGIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE TO COMBAT ILLEGAL ROADWAY TRAFFIC ACTIVITY.

is of concern only because it contains the language "The task force shall combat illegal traffic activities on greater Hartford area roadways committed by organized groups of individuals riding motor vehicles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles or other vehicles.", which may be interpreted in such a way as to encourage "profiling", and lead to harassment of motorcyclists in that area.

HB-6744: AN ACT CONCERNING COMPENSATORY REFORESTATION PLANS, THE CONSTRUCTION OF NOISE BARRIERS, DECIBEL TESTING FOR MOTOR VEHICLES AND IDLING MOTOR VEHICLES.

includes the language originally part of HB-6745 (mentioned below on 02/22/23) which extends the time for the implementation of noise testing of motor vehicles (including motorcycles), which was signed into law last year.

What's next? HB-5917 will now go back to the House for consideration - keep writing/calling/emailing your Representatives to try to get section 3 removed, or the entire bill scrapped. If it passes the House, it will then move to the Senate, so keep after your Senators also. There is also a rumor that the Governor is not happy with some aspects of the bill, although he is known to favor the helmet law, so reach out to the Governors office and let them know that you do not favor this bill either.

05/01/23: HB-5917 is on the agenda of the Appropriations Committee meeting scheduled for this afternoon at 1:00 pm. This meeting will be broadcast live on CT-N

04/26/23: The House moved HB-5917 to the Appropriations Committee on 04/25/23. Not sure what impact this will have, but it does mean that they are considering the bill earlier than expected.

03/30/23: HB-5917 has been moved to the House, on today's calendar, and it is imperative to immediately contact all your legislators, particularly your Representatives, to try to either stop the bill entirely, or remove Section 3.

03/27/23: Where do we go from here? Now that HB-5917 has been moved out of the Transportation Committee, and will move to the House shortly, it is more important than ever to contact all your legislators, particularly your Representatives, to try to either stop the bill entirely, or remove Section 3.

In addition, consider sending letters to the Editor of your local Newspaper, to help raise public awareness and keep pressure on the Legislature.

Here is an example that was developed by several of our members, that can be used as a basis for your own letters:

Dear Editor,
Lawmakers are up to their old tricks at the State Capitol. A group with the unlikely name of "Vision Zero Council" and comprised of only state employees has formulated HB-5917, an act implementing the recommendations of the Vision Zero Council.
This group has put together a measure that includes the installation of red-light cameras at certain intersections, the installation of speed cameras, a universal helmet requirement for adult motorcyclists, increased powers for the Commissioner of Transportation under eminent domain, as well as mandated state programs for municipalities without any additional state funding. Most of these proposals have a long legislative history with little or no success. Lawmakers refer to such legislation as "Christmas tree" bills.
As a motorcycle rider and a taxpayer, I vehemently object to having a 40-year-old controversial proposal like an adult helmet requirement placed in this omnibus proposal. Whether you support removing that freedom of choice from adult riders or not, the issue deserves a clean up-or-down vote. I also fear the potential abuse of using cameras to enforce traffic safety laws. I always believed that was part of our police officers function.
With little or no private sector input Governor Lamont is trying an end-run vote on unpopular issues. According to the Webster dictionary, zero vision means "without sight". Obviously this group has little regard for such public concerns and wishes.

Remember, although as CMRA members we are most concerned about the helmet law provisions in Section 3, there are many other objectionable aspects of this bill in particular, and this sort of "Omnibus Bill" in general, that may encourage people who might not care about the helmet issue to oppose it's passage.

We want this bill to fail, for whatever reason!

03/17/23: In reviewing written testimony submitted by suporters of the helmet law, those who give reasons seem to always make claims that "ample evidence", or even "overwhelming evidence" shows that helmet laws reduce fatalities and serious injuries. This would be hard to argue against - IF IT WERE TRUE! And yet, they never actually submit any such evidence, which is not surprising, since it does NOT exist!

Unfortunately, Legislators typically do not know the facts. This is why it is extremely important that every Legislator be supplied with a copy of this study. When contacting your Legislators, send them a copy, and ask them to provide any actual evidence (actual data, not just unsupported hearsay) that supports helmet laws.

03/11/23: Late-breaking news: Video of the 03/10/23 Transportation Committee meeting is available here. There is a lot of dead-air at the beginning, as the meeting started late.

As usual, this meeting is quite long, with most of the time spent on other issues, but the part relating to HB-5917 appears at the following approximate time: 2:31-3:12 (that's starting two hours and thirty-one minutes into the video).

Unfortunately (from our point of view) the bill has been passed by the Committee (22 to 14) with Section 3 intact, so it still is requiring helmet use by ALL motorcyclists.

It will then go (with possibly a few stops along the way) to be voted on by the House as a whole, so you should contact your own State Representatives and politely but firmly express your opposition to Section 3(a). Clog their phone lines, fill their email in-boxes, bury them with paper mail!

If it passes the House vote, it will then go to the Senate to be voted on, so you should also contact your State Senators in the same manner.

In all cases, consider bringing this study to their attention.

The text of the bill (as voted on) can be read here.

03/09/23: Late-breaking news: It appears that the Transportation Committee plans to move forward and vote tomorrow (03/10/23) to pass

HB5917: AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE VISION ZERO COUNCIL.

without removing or altering section 3(a), which imposes mandatory helmet use for all motorcyclists!

Call the Transportation Committee at (860)240-0590 first thing Friday (03/10/23) morning saying: "As a CMRA member, I feel we have been betrayed by the Committee's decision to include a universal helmet requirement in HB-5917".

Contact all of the members of the Transportation Committee (particularly if you are a registered voter in their district), and let them know how you feel about this.

03/08/23: A new bill has been introduced that may be of interest to our members.

SB-1195: AN ACT ESTABLISHING SECONDARY TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS.

Currently before the Judiciary Committee, this rather lengthy bill seems to be primarily intended to reduce in-person traffic stops by defining certain violations as "secondary" and making those insufficient in themselves to justify a traffic stop. Unfortuately this includes language in Section 2(6) and 2(60) that defines an "autocycle" to be considered as a type of "motorcycle", something that we have been opposed to for some time now. It should be noted that this definition has also appeared elsewhere in proposed legislation.

02/22/23: Several new bills have been introduced that may be of interest to our members.

SB-955: AN ACT CONCERNING ANATOMICAL GIFTS.

Currently before the Public Health Committee, this includes language in Section 2 that appears to have been stimulated by Senator Looney's SB-96 (see below), a bill that should never have been introduced, let alone be considered seriously by the legislature.

This language would set up a study of how many motorcyclists got killed over the last ten years while riding without a helmet, and how many of these were voluntary organ donors.

SB-955 was introduced by the Public Health Committee after consideration of SB-96 was turned over to them.

SB-1036: AN ACT ESTABLISHING A GREATER HARTFORD REGIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE TO COMBAT ILLEGAL ROADWAY TRAFFIC ACTIVITY.

Currently before the Public Safety Committee, this bill basically repeats the contents of HB-5494 (see below) with a slightly lower emphasis on motorcycles.

HB-6745: AN ACT CONCERNING THE CONSTRUCTION OF NOISE BARRIERS, A PLAN IMPLEMENTING A STATE-WIDE DECIBEL LEVEL TESTING PROGRAM AND IDLING MOTOR VEHICLES.

Currently before the Transportation Committee, section 2 of this bill modifies last year's Public Act No. 22-44, to the extent of giving the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles until October 1st to submit a plan for noise testing vehicles (including motorcycles) at official emissions inspection stations. The current requirement was for a plan to be submitted by January 1st of this year, which apparently didn't happen.

Section 3 of this bill allows ticketing of any operators who let their vehicle idle for more than three minutes, without allowing for things like red lights or traffic jams that may cause delays in excess of that time.

02/02/23: With regard to Senator Looney's proposed

SB-96: AN ACT ESTABLISHING A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT PERSONS KILLED IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT WHILE RIDING WITHOUT A HELMET WISH TO DONATE THEIR ORGANS.

The American Motorcyclist Association sent an opposition letter to Senator Looney's office.

They also set up an "Action Alert" page here to help people submit their own feelings on this issue.

Special thanks to the AMA, and to Patrick and Karima Mastrolillo for taking the initiative to bring this matter to the AMA's attention.

02/02/23: We also need to keep an eye on:

HB5494: AN ACT ESTABLISHING A GREATER HARTFORD REGIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TASK FORCE TO COMBAT ILLEGAL ROADWAY TRAFFIC ACTIVITY.

This bill is extremely vague, and I'm not sure what the drafter's intent is, but it includes the following language "to combat illegal traffic activities on area roadways committed by organized groups of individuals riding motorcycles".

01/31/23: In spite of some technical difficulties, the public hearing on HB5917 was held yesterday.

Surprisingly, our usual opponents did not appear to speak in favor of the helmet law provisions.

Written Testimony can be seen here. Although not obvious, if you click on the title of any testimony, the text of it can be read.

Support for a universal helmet law appears in the following written testimony: Kevin Borrup-page 2; Kenneth Cains-page 1; Garrett Eucalitto-page 2; Tara Gill-pages 1, 10, 18 and 19 of her 70 page "brochure-ware" testimony; Gannon Long-pages 1-2; Aishwarya Pillai-page 1; Kerri Ana Provost-page 2; Antonio Riera; and Steven Winter. Where the testimony attempts to justify unuversal helmet use, these almost all rely on repeating long-discreditted, misleading and inaccurate propaganda spread by NHTSA as "evidence". The one exception being Ms. Provost who has mixed feelings on the issue and takes the trouble to write a very well thought out discussion of why.

Opposition to the helmet law appears in the following: Ryder FitzGerald; Diana Frink; Michael Garabedian; Peter Lessor; Karima Mastrolillo; Patrick Mastrolillo; Christopher Oberg; Richard Paukner (of course!), and Geoff Viscount. Of these, Ryder FitzGerald and Richard Paukner include data to support their opposition.

The remainder of the testimony focuses on other sections of the bill.

Special thanks to those of you who submitted testimony.

Written testimony may still be submitted here.

A video of the 01/30/23 public hearing before the Transportation committee is now available here.

This hearing ran more than five hours, with most of the time spent on other issues, but the spoken testimony relating to mandatory helmet laws appears at the following approximate times: Opposition to the helmet law was expressed at approximately 1:48-2:34 (that's starting at one hour and forty-eight minutes into the video) by Rich Paukner; 3:47-3:49 by Ryder FitzGerald; and 3:50-3:53 by Geoff Viscount. Support for the universal helmet law appears briefly at 0:10:29-0:10:55 Garrett Eucalitto (that's a bit more than ten minutes into the hearing) and at 4:22-4:23 by Alec Slatky (four hours and twenty-two minutes into the hearing.

If I missed any other references to the helmet law, please let me know here.

01/26/23: Attention CMRA members:

HB5917: AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE VISION ZERO COUNCIL.

Section 3(a) (starting at line 56) 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, January 30 (yep, this coming Monday, 9:00 am).

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.

Registration will close on Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 3:00 P.M. Speaker order of approved registrants will be listed in a randomized order and posted on the Transportation Committee website on Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 6:00 P.M. under Public Hearing Testimony.

We would like as many of you as possible to sign up for speaking, even if you don't actually speak - that will show that this is not something that is being overlooked.

Written testimony may be submitted here.

If you do not have internet access, you may provide testimony via telephone. To register to testify by phone, call the Phone Registrant Line at 860-240-0593 to leave your contact information.

If you are unsure of who your legislators are 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.

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!

01/25/23: We are also monitoring the following bills:

HB5984: AN ACT CONCERNING MOTOR VEHICLE NOISE POLLUTION.

and

HB-6166: AN ACT CONCERNING LOUD AND EXCESSIVE MOTOR VEHICLE NOISE.

Although neither of these bills are specific to motorcycles, if enacted they will have an impact on all motorists.

01/13/23: The following legislation has been proposed by Senator Martin Looney:

SB-97: AN ACT REQUIRING THE USE OF HELMETS BY MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE.

and

SB-96: AN ACT ESTABLISHING A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION THAT PERSONS KILLED IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT WHILE RIDING WITHOUT A HELMET WISH TO DONATE THEIR ORGANS.

The first is just a rehash of the effort to require helmet use by motorcyclists under 21 (as opposed to the current, under 18 requirement), similar to 2020's SB148 and 2022's HB 5255. The second singles out motorcyclists for special, and predjudicial treatment.

Proposed bill 96 may have some legal repercussions in as much as the matter of choice determining the donation of an organ is already in effect in CT statues. The question of organ donation can't be arbitrarily presumed, after being involved in a mishap without a helmet, for multiple religious and medical reasons.

The CMRA (as an organization) has voted, in the past, not to oppose changing the age limit, in order to focus on opposing any universal helmet-use legislation. However, I know that many individual motorcyclists are opposed to ANY attempts to impose any legislation that singles out motorcyclists for unfair and discriminatory treatment.

01/07/23: Attention CMRA members: The 2023 Legislative Session began 01/04/23.

Check this page for updates as they become available.

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.


2022:

    

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.

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 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.ors 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!

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.

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 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.

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!

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 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.

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.


2021:

    

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.


2020:

    

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!

 


2019:

    

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

 

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.

 


2017:

    

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:


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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