July 21, 2017 - RIDING FREE FROM DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

Alerts and other info from the MRF

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July 21, 2017 - RIDING FREE FROM DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway


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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.



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NEWS FROM THE HILL – Discussion on E15 Bill PLUS Passage of Driverless Car Bill

Remember a few weeks ago when we informed MRF members about a new bill from Senator Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) regarding ethanol? ICYMI (in case you missed it) the bill would allow year-round sale of 15 percent ethanol. And it got some attention this week when Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) took to the Senate floor to call on Republicans to work together on the issue of ethanol – very divisive among Republicans depending on where they hail from. There is discussion that he may introduce amendments that would expand Sen. Fischer’s bill into a broader package. This broader package would include a host of Republican priorities, including altering Clean Air Act standards, and other EPA/motorcycle emissions issues. Our sources say he also is considering setting up a sunset provision for the conventional biofuels part of the Renewable Fuel Standard. There is talk that a Senate Committee may markup the E15 bill (giving Inhofe his chance to introduce his amendments). This markup could occur next week or possibly after the August recess. My personal opinion is that Republicans may accept Fischer’s bill as a bargaining chip for broader changes to ethanol and maybe even other things like the RPM Act….also in the jurisdiction of the Committee. Stay tuned.

This week, Congress took its most significant action to date on driverless cars. A House panel approved a draft bill that would expand the ability of automakers to get driverless cars on the road - and curtail the ability of states and localities to stop them. Democrats - especially the delegation from California, are skittish about taking so much power away from cities and states, whose remaining powers to regulate drivers' licensing and education don't mean much when there are no drivers. Large parts of the bill are still in brackets, meaning the language is still under discussion. The bill heads to the full committee for a vote next week, but some Democrats are asking what the rush is, while Republicans want to get the bill done by August recess.

Read the bill by clicking HERE

And over in the Senate, this week your MRF had a private closed-door meeting to discuss “imminent” legislation which also would regulate the self-driving cars. I’m happy to report that the identification and responsiveness to motorcycles is a top priority there. Though the House is taking a narrower piecemeal approach by passing individual bills  instead of comprehensive legislation, its concerning that “motorcycle” appears nowhere in the text. Not so in the Senate. We’ll communicate more on the Senate bill as the process moves forward.


EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Relief for Harley, NHTSA Turns to Marijuana Impairment

As we all know, under the Obama Administration, Harley-Davidson was fined $15 million after allegedly selling aftermarket devices that allowed motorcyclists to cheat U.S. emissions standards. Under the originally proposed deal, Harley-Davidson would have paid a $12 million fine and given $3 million to the American Lung Association. However, the Trump Administration announced this week that the company would NOT have to pay a portion of the settlement.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared an end to such third-party settlements, like the portion that was set to go to the American Lung Association, in which companies pay for projects not directly related to their violations. The announcement comes as Harley-Davidson plans to cut dozens of jobs in coming months in an effort to cope with slowing motorcycle sales. News outlets reported that about 180 jobs are on the chopping block in Milwaukee and Kansas City.

Though out of the jurisdiction of the MRF, we thought it pertinent for our members to know about activity at NHTSA to address driving under the influence….of marijuana impairment. Now that a number of states have legalized marijuana, this week your MRF attended a meeting of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. NHTSA Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Danielson told lawmakers that they are trying to figure out how to set a scientific threshold for marijuana impairment over which people shouldn't be allowed to drive - and perhaps more importantly, they're working on a way for police to measure it. Marijuana is tricky because it's detectable in urine for up to 30 days. Danielson said they would be looking to detect and measure impairment, not use - so having days-old marijuana in your system wouldn't get you busted for a DUI. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this one.

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS – Meeting of the Minds…Don’t Miss Out!

Who likes paying more for stuff? Not me. Meeting of the Minds Early Registration Deadline is ONE MONTH FROM TODAY! Rates will go up if you don’t book by the August 21st deadline. Plus, if you don’t’ book your hotel by August 21, you’ll miss out on the conference rate. (see below for hotel info)

Doubletree Williamsburg
50 Kingsmill Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Phone: 1-757-220-2500
Nightly Rate: $109.00

And last, but certainly not least, look the part when you show up by pre-ordering event t-shirts when you register online: Short Sleeve $20 and Long Sleeve $25.

Take care of that by clicking HERE



Megan Ekstrom

Vice-President of Government Affairs & Public Relations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation



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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.



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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

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