MRF July 2019 Update
By Andy Kelly
This year, the 11th Annual “Bikers Inside The Beltway” lobby day, was held in Washington D.C. About 150 concerned bikers, attending from 28 States, made their way to D.C. to advocate for issues that affects EVERY MOTORCYCLIST.
On Monday evening, before the actual lobby day, the MRF Lobbying team of William “Rocky” Fox from Husch Blackwell Strategies and Tiffany Cipoletti from the MRF explained every issue that we could discuss with our Congressmen or Senators. The following are the issues that were talked about to lobby for the next day.
The big push was to get the Motorcyclist Anti-Profiling Resolution (H. Res 255) passed in the House of Representatives this session. If you remember it passed in the Senate last year unanimously and now we must work in the House. The MRF position is that through education and awareness this issue can be addressed and Mitigated. The MRF has worked with federal lawmakers in getting a national bipartisan bill introduced to address this critical issue.H. Res 255 helps address the concerns over the profiling of motorcyclist. This resolution promotes public awareness of motorcyclist profiling and encourages collaboration and communication between law enforcement and the motorcycle community. This legislation urges state law enforcement officials to condemn the profiling of motorcyclists in written policies and training material.
Another issue that will affect every motorcyclist and any user of an air cooled motor is the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019 H.R.1024. In the summer of 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule that aims to require 19.88 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply in 2019. Later in the fall, the EPA allowed a year round E-15 gasoline blend (88 at your blend pump) which was previously prohibited during the summer due to air pollution concerns. As a result, there are increasingly higher blends of ethanol showing up at the fuel pumps. H.R. 1024 asks that a warning label about Ethanal be placed on the pumps and encourages consumers to check their owner’s manual to give the consumer the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision about the fuel they are putting in their engines. Ask yourself, what is wrong with an informed and educated consumer?
Did you know that the National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently defines the term “motorcycle” as a ”motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with ground” (49 CFR 571.3). This has not been revised or amended since initially defined back in 1967. We all know what kind of vehicle manufacture is doing everything it can to stop this from happening. The lead author of a letter sent to NHTSA to review and update the definition of a motorcycle was Congressman Michael Burgess of Texas. Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson from Pennsylvania’s 15th district also signed onto this letter. We need to make sure this issue gets taken care of by NHTSA.
Autonomous Vehicle Technology - Last year the Senate and the House had two different bills addressing autonomous vehicle technology. The house bill H.R.3388 (Self Drive Act) passed the house but failed to be considered in the Senate, while the Senate version S.1885 (AV Start Act) was never voted on. Only then Senate bill had language specific to motorcycles. In the Senate version a manufacture would have been required to submit an Safety Evaluation Report prior to the autonomous vehicle being released on the market. In that report, the manufacturer must attest that the vehicle can identify and respond to motorcycles.
Tuesday, the following morning, everyone that wanted to ride into the Nation's Capital as a group, to lobby, met in Falls Church Va, at the Governor's Inn. At 6:30 am kickstands were up and we rode into Washington DC and parked on Third St, across from the Capitol building. There were five people from Pennsylvania that came to Washington D.C. to lobby for the issues mentioned above, Frank Carbone, David “Irish” Dohrmann, Matt “Pabst” Carpenter, Lenny Young and myself.
I had made an appointment with my Congressman and also with Senator Toomey's office. Both Lenny Young and myself tried to get an appointment with Senator Casey's office before Bikers inside the Beltway with no luck. We went to his office but no one was available to speak with us.
All of the issues are very important and we need to keep on telling our Congressmen to step up. At this time, the only Representative, out of 18, to step up and defend motorcyclists, in Pennsylvania is Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson.
Below are the names and phone numbers in Washington D.C. of all of our Congressmen
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick 202-225-4254 Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Rep. Brendan Boyle 202-225-6111
Rep. Dwight Evans 202-225-4001
Rep. Madeleine Dean 202-225-4731 Judiciary Committee (profiling)
Rep. Mary Scanlon 202--225-2011
Rep. Christina Houlahan 202-225-4315
Rep. Susan Wild 202-225-6411
Rep. Matthew Cartwright 202-225-5546
Rep. Daniel Meuser 202-225-6511
Rep. Scott Perry 202-225-5836 Transportation Committee, Motorcycle Caucus
Rep.Lloyd Smucker 202-225-2411
Rep. Fred Keller just sworn in and could not find phone number
Rep.John Joyce 202-225-2431
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler 202-225-2065
Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson 202-225-5121 Motorcycle Caucus
Rep. Mike Kelly 202-225-5406
Rep. Conner Lamb 202-225-2301
Rep. Michael Doyle 202-225-2135
Please take the time to contact your Representative and ask them to please sign on to these issues. It is very important that we all get involved and start a dialogue with our Representatives in Washington D.C.