The Washington state legislature passed the BPSA-created and -backed three-class e-bike legislation in late February.
The bill (SB 6434) is very similar to bills passed in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Utah and was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on March 13th with an effective date of June 7th, 2018.
“We worked closely with Washington Bikes on this bill and have an ally in the governor’s office,” said Morgan Lommele, e-bike campaigns manager for BPSA.
Lommele said BPSA is pursuing e-bike bills in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this year.
You may have heard about the new $15 tax on bikes of $200 or more in Oregon, which has generated questions and concerns within our community. Here’s “the rest of the story…”
Alex Logemann, on behalf of the BPSA/PeopleForBikes joint Legislative Monitoring effort, worked for months with the The Street Trust and local bike businesses to minimize the impact of this tax on our industry and ensure that new investments in bike facilities dramatically outweigh the revenue collected from the tax.
The bike tax was included within a $5.3 billion transportation funding package. Lawmakers originally proposed a 5% tax on bikes retailing for $500 or more. After immediate push-back by Alex and our Oregon allies, legislators reduced the tax to 3%. Following a concerted campaign during June and July, the tax was rolled back to a flat $15, and the qualifying amount to $200.
Amending the bike tax to a flat fee eliminates the potentially disastrous impact of a percentage-based tax on high-end bike sales, reduces our real tax burden over time, and spreads the burden out to a wider range of retailers.
A critical aspect of this bill that received less coverage than the tax itself: The projected $1.2 million in annual revenue goes into a pool of over $22 million of annual funding to build more bike facilities in Oregon. Great job, Alex, and thanks to BPSA members, these are your dues dollars at work!
In March 2011, BPSA and several of its member companies were notified that US Customs was imposing a 10% duty on cassettes by moving them from the “free-wheel sprocket wheels” category, where there was no tariff imposed, to the 10% tariff “other” category.
This is where trade associations really shine. BPSA Board members Trek, QBP and SRAM immediately jumped into action, and after five years of research, litigation and $117,500 in BPSA legal fees, a multi-step appeal process ending in the Court of International Trade recently resulted in victory.
Cassettes will now be re-classified the same as tariff-free freewheels, with companies entitled to refunds of duties paid from past years. Dozens of companies that spec, import or distribute cassettes will save millions of dollars based on this concerted effort shepherded by Matt Moore, BPSA’s Legal committee chair.
Moore summed up this unprecedented industry effort: “It’s a pretty big deal. It’s the first time we’ve gone to the Court of International Trade to resolve a tariff issue. And it’s remarkable that it was successful.”
It’s a new legislative session in statehouses across America, and as with every year, there are all kinds of wacky ideas flying around about regulating bikes and bike riding in various ways.
Our legislative watchdog Alex Logemann, who runs the joint BPSA/PeopleForBikes monitoring program that examined over 20,000 bills last year, has a couple of examples:
“We have seen several significant attacks on bike riding in state legislatures this session,” noted Logemann. “Bike registration bills were introduced in Montana, Vermont, and Massachusetts, and a law that would have required permits to use bike lanes was put forth in Minnesota.”
“While many of these laws are unable to generate much momentum, one proposal that would have required out-of-state bike riders to pay $25 to ride in Montana actually passed the state Senate. It took a major grassroots effort to have the provision removed from the legislation in the House.”
“Learning about these important bills in real time enables us to take action quickly and ensure that the voice of bike riders is represented in the legislature,” noted Logemann.
Your BPSA and PFB dues support Alex’s and BPSA Legal chair Matt Moore’s important work. We appreciate your support, and we know it’s paying off by keeping the legislative playing field safe and sane for bicycles.
Influencing the Congress and the appropriate Federal agencies in DC to enact bicycle-friendly legislation is an important part of our association work.
There will be another BPSA/PeopleForBikes Executive Fly-In on May 17-18, we invite any executives representing BPSA member companies to join in. Thanks to Jenn Dice of PeopleForBikes for the great help setting this up with her team. E-mail Jenn (email@example.com) if you’d like to attend.