Alerts and other info from the MRF
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RIDING FREE FROM DC:
Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway
Your Motorcycle Riders Foundation team in Washington, D.C. is pleased to provide our members with the latest information and updates on issues that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. Count on your MRF to keep you informed about a range of matters that are critical to the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. Published weekly when the U.S. Congress is in session.
NEWS FROM THE HILL – August Recess DELAYED…but Will Anything Get Done?
In case you didn’t know, the U.S. Congress takes a much-needed and very well-deserved break (ß SARCASM) every August. Our elected officials use the month to take some personal time, but mostly they spend their days at fundraisers or meet with constituents at the home office (side note – August is a GREAT time to set up meetings with your legislators). However, some recent shenanigans will almost certainly curtail that this year.
This week, Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Kennedy (R-La.) Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Luther Strange (R-Ala.) held a press conference calling on the Senate to cancel August recess. The reasoning? There is so DAMN MUCH TO DO. Here is what the White House has asked the Hill to do immediately: 1) Pass a repeal of Obamacare before August recess. 2) Lift the debt ceiling before August recess. 3) Agree on the outlines of a broad-based overhaul of the nation's tax code before the August recess. 4) Clear outstanding executive and judicial branch nominations.
The problem? As of this writing, there are 11 legislative days scheduled until the August recess begins. Obamacare repeal is in a tough spot. Congress is extremely unlikely to lift the debt ceiling before the August recess. And I can't see any agreement on the horizon on tax reform.
But to give credit where due, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did make the announcement that the Senate will break with longstanding precedent and delay the start of its August recess until the third week of the month in order to continue to work this summer. Now, I understand at home, you may be saying SO WHAT THE EFF? I work every August! (You and me both, my friends). But this breaks a long-standing precedent in D.C. and has everyone talking….
This D.C. insider’s opinion? GOOD. There is a lot to be done, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get there. And if they want to pass the MRF’s profiling resolution while they’re around this August, we certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that!
EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Guardrail Fail and Ethanol Talk
Families of people who have been killed by driving into a guardrail they say is dangerous have brought a lawsuit against the Lindsay Corporation, which makes the X-LITE model guardrail device. Lawsuits recently filed say that the rails impale vehicle passengers and have been linked to several deaths across the country since last year. There are approximately 14,000 X-LITE units in use in at least 29 states and Puerto Rico. Lindsay Chief Executive Officer Rick Parod discussed the lawsuit recently stating that, “We stand behind X-LITE and will vigorously defend these claims.” Parod went on to say that their product has passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards. Notably, while the product is still eligible to be purchased using federal transportation funding, Parod said, Lindsay is replacing the X-LITE in its lineup this year with products that meet a newer set of federal safety standards. Your MRF pays close attention to issues surrounding guardrails considering the needs of our membership. We’ll watch this as it develops and report out accordingly.
Wait…what? EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had a gift for ethanol producers this Independence Day…he stayed a continuation of the Obama administration's requirement that 15 billion gallons of ethanol go into the nation's fuel system. Hold on though, folks don’t sharpen your knives just yet. Pruitt reduced overall advanced biofuels in 2017, kept advanced biodiesel steady in 2019, and cut by about a quarter the cellulosic ethanol mandate for fuels from agricultural products that have a much smaller carbon footprint. What does that mean in plain speak? Pruitt has opened the door to significant changes down the road, suggesting that an analysis of a "reset" of the ethanol volumes allowed under the law may be in order. The EPA is asking for comment on imported ethanol and biodiesel, and for an examination of the market for zero percent ethanol. KEEP IN MIND ITS ONLY A PROPOSAL….the EPA often modifies its proposed volumes when it issues a final rule. Now the agency has until November 30th to take comment and produce a final rule. The clock is ticking and your MRF is watching.
NEWS FROM THE STATES: TEXAS Announces Motorcycle Crash Analysis Findings
More news from the lone star state this week. Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute announced their completion of a five-year analysis of motorcycle crashes in the state. Though we encourage you to read the full report (link below) some quick factoids from the announcement include an increased likelihood of crashes in urban settings versus rural (however those crashes that occur in rural areas are more severe); 40% of riders in crashes have no “M” license certification; and, of fatal motorcycle crashes, 44% involved an impaired rider. A friendly reminder that these stats are exclusive to Texas and that there are many other statistics…read the report…give me your feedback!
The full study can be accessed by clicking on this link.
MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS – Meetings in August and MOTM
Though your elected officials are looking at a shorter August recess this year (see the first story), the last two weeks of the month, they are likely to be home in their districts. What does this mean for you? IT’S A GREAT TIME TO MEET WITH YOUR CONGRESSPERSON. If you attended Bikers Inside the Beltway, a short meeting in the district office is an ideal time to follow up on all of those issues the staffer promised to “look into.” Sufficient time has passed since the end of May so you can go in and say, HEY – what’s the final word? Can you sign on to our profiling resolution? Push for the RPM to go to the floor? Make some responsible changes to the ethanol mandate? Finally fix the definition of a motorcycle?
And if you DIDN’T attend Bikers Inside the Beltway (first of all shame on you!) then here is your chance to make up for it and schedule a meeting with your elected officials in your home state and share your concerns as riders! Don’t know who to call for an appointment? Let me help! (firstname.lastname@example.org) Don’t know what to say? We’ve got you covered. The MRF recently posted all of our issue summaries that we lobbied on this year. Print these off, study them up, make your appointments and PREACH.
You’ll find the summaries by clicking on this link
Lastly – here is the first (of what will be many) plugs to sign up for this year’s Meeting of the Minds. Its being held in Williamsburg, VA this year and we are going to have a fantastic lineup. Get registered NOW by clicking on the link below. I’ll be there…will I see you?!?
UNTIL THEN, RIDE FREE-
Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation
About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. The MRF is chiefly concerned with issues at the national and international levels that impact the freedom and safety of American street motorcyclists. The MRF is committed to being a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle and works in conjunction with its partners to help educate elected officials and policymakers in Washington and beyond.
All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. Ride With The Leaders ™ by joining the MRF at http://mrf.org/ or call (202) 546-0983