RIDING FREE FROM DC: Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

 

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 – An Alphabet Soup of Acronyms:
AVs, RPM, & RFS This Week

“We’re close”…were the words spoken to me by an unnamed staffer on Capitol Hill this week during a meeting on the autonomous vehicles legislation. Your MRF has been doing a slew of meetings to reiterate the point that motorcycles MUST be included in any legislation as it relates to the safety of autonomous vehicles. We’ve made headway in the Senate bill, but have more work to do in the House version. Behind the scenes there are a couple of Democratic senators that are holding up activity on the bill; Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) whose offices tell me they want more time to discuss safety, privacy and cybersecurity issues. Fair enough! Still though, staffers are hopeful the Senate version of the bill (which includes language the MRF pushed for) will be taken up for a vote before Christmas. If so, the House and Senate will then have to reconcile the differences between their own versions. Tick-tock….

 

Ahead of a Thursday meeting this week between Trump and other senior officials about ethanol policy, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott formally asked for a Renewable Fuel Standard waiver from Pruitt. What does this mean? Well, it would mean that Texas would not have to comply with the ethanol blending quotas set forth by the EPA. It begs the question – can other states do this too? “The time is ripe for EPA to grant substantive relief from the unique, adverse impacts the RFS program is having on the state of Texas,” Governor Abbott wrote in a letter. This uproar comes after the recent announcement from the EPA that they had finalized a rule that instead would hold steady the quotas on renewable fuels (like ethanol) under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for 2018. You’ll recall that earlier this year, the EPA proposed changes to the RFS which, for the first time, would NOT call for an increase in conventional ethanol and instead proposed to LOWER the required volume of cellulosic biofuel by 73 million gallons. HOWEVER, ethanol producers and lawmakers from corn states urged the EPA to back off its earlier proposal to trim the mandate. Reportedly, President Trump, who ran on a platform of supporting the RFS, personally asked EPA head Scott Pruitt not to reduce the biofuels standard. So now, concerned states are looking for ways to get around the RFS requirements…hence Texas’s request for a waiver. Though temporary, it could be a potential state-led solution as Congress continues to debate over what to do over ethanol…

 

Holding on to the coattails of recent Senate activity, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee passed the RPM Act without amendment earlier this week by a margin of 33-20, with affirmative votes from all of the committee Republicans and three Democrats: Schrader (OR), Loebsack (IA), and Ruiz (CA). The Senate version of the RPM Act went through a similar exercise a couple of weeks ago. NOW that those procedural hurdles have cleared, the next step is to get leadership (that’s Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin) to bring the bills up for a vote. Look for a Call to Action from the MRF shortly after the holidays to help spur this action.

 

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Riders Across the Nation Flex Their Muscles on MAC

 

This week, in one of the worst examples of government bureaucracy to date, the first meeting of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council was convened. If you don’t know what that is then you must have missed (or ignored) the dozens of emails and Calls to Action notices that have gone out over the last 3 weeks. The “MAC” is the ONLY official forum on a national scale for motorcyclists to have an open dialogue with the Government to discuss concerns like road and barrier design, the emergence of autonomous vehicles and other areas of the nation’s highways and infrastructure which impact motorcyclists in a unique way.

 

And though my 7-year-old kid realizes that you’ll have to include ACTUAL motorcycle riders representing ACTUAL on-street motorcycle associations to have this conversation, the federal government does not. Despite your MRF telling them…despite Members of Congress telling them…..despite riders across the country telling them…over and over again.

 

Maybe the 333rd time is the charm? During the meeting your MRF requested to deliver oral remarks and so I did. To the full Committee. And government officials. And to back up my oral argument, I also delivered a petition with over 5,200 signatories that DEMANDED additional seats be added to the MAC for STATE and NATIONAL motorcycle riders’ associations. And while I don’t know what the outcome will be, I do know that this petition has gone to the highest levels of the Department of Transportation. And I have it on good authority that the MRF has made waves within the Department over this MAC nonsense. I’ll rest better when those waves turn into action. Until then, I am going to keep up the fight. I hope you will too.

 

STATE NEWS – A Win in Wisconsin

 

Last week, Governor Walker of Wisconsin signed a new law addressing right-of-way violations. Wisconsin Act 105 expands the list of rules of the road violations for which the State requires the offender’s attendance at a mandatory right-of-way course. It also increases penalties for right-of-way violations. As anyone who rides knows, right-of-way violations can cause catastrophic and fatal damage to motorcyclists. Many states are working hard to make these types of violations carry hefty penalties in an effort to address the safety of motorcyclists. Congrats to ABATE of Wisconsin for making riders safer all over the Badger State. If your state is looking for a blue print on how to make headway in your own legislature on right-of-way violations, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the powers that be over at ABATE of Wisconsin.

 

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

To my faithful weekly readers, you now realize that last Friday, our weekly Riding Free Bulletin didn’t make it to your inbox. I hope you’re not too mad – it is for a good reason:

 

That’s right, last weekend, yours truly was taking the beginners riding course courtesy of Harley-Davidson Riding Academy. And while I won’t tell you if I dropped my bike (okay, yes I will – I did. More than once.) I WILL tell you that I passed and am now in proud possession of my motorcycle license.

 

And most importantly…I kind of love it. So that being said – who has a good deal on a bike for me? I am partial to the Harley Street 500 but beggars can’t be choosers.


 

RIDE FREE-

 

 

Megan Ekstrom
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.

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Motorcycle Riders Foundation Delivers Petition at First Meeting of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, Asking to ‘Let Riders Speak’

 

 

For Immediate Release

December 6, 2017

Motorcycle Riders Foundation Delivers Petition at
First Meeting of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, Asking to ‘Let Riders Speak’

WASHINGTON, DC A petition containing over 5,000 signatures was delivered to the first meeting of the Federal Highway Administration’s Motorcyclist Advisory Council on Tuesday. The document was presented by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and demanded that the Council designate additional seats to represent the motorcycle rider community. Currently, the Council has 10 available seats; only one of which is filled by a motorcycle rider association representative.

 

Reauthorized in the latest highway bill in 2016, the Motorcyclist Advisory Council or ‘MAC’ was created to coordinate with and counsel the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on infrastructure and other issues that affect motorcyclists. It was originally conceptualized in 2005, and designed to allow the motorcycle community a dialogue with government officials; the only one of its kind. Previous iterations of the group also held 10 seats, however unlike the current parameters, 4 of the 10 council members included representatives from the motorcycling community from various state and federal motorcycle associations. When the MAC was reauthorized, the Federal Highway Administration eliminated all but one of these, only calling for 1 representative from the motorcycling community with the other 9 positions to be filled by experts in roadway data, design and engineering.

“We continue to be concerned that [the MAC], the ONLY group of its kind on a national scale, fails to include adequate representation of the nearly 8.5 million motorcycle riders on our nation’s roadways,” said Megan Ekstrom, Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation in prepared comments delivered at the meeting. “Only ONE out of TEN of these individuals can speak for the rider community at large and has the authority to do so and is here to serve that specific purpose. The MAC should have more of these,” Ekstrom went on to say.

Members of Congress also weighed in. The Senate issued a letter, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) asking for additional seats for motorcycle riders association. The letter, sent in February, included Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation which has jurisdiction over transportation-related matters.

The U.S. House of Representatives issued its own letter to Secretary Chao, outlining their own concerns and asking the Secretary of Transportation to allow the motorcycle community a strong voice on the Council. The letter stated, “It is critical to allow motorcyclists to have a strong voice on this Council. These are the individuals who have experience and can provide a motorcyclist’s insights on the challenges and benefits of our roadways. Depending on where they live, riders have unique experiences and are differently impacted by roadway and barrier design, and construction, among others.”

Seated in the audience of Tuesday’s meeting was Andy Kelly. Kelly, a rider for most of his life and a member of ABATE of Pennsylvania, which stands for “Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education” made the trip to Washington, DC to attend the meeting after signing the petition. A handful of other motorcycle riders representing various state and local rider associations were also in the audience, allowed to listen, but not officially weigh in on issues that affect them as riders.

“This is an example of government at its worst,” said Ekstrom. “The purpose of this group is to advise on issues important to motorcyclists, how can the MAC identify and prioritize these issues, without adequate rider representation?”

A copy of the petition and Ekstrom’s remarks are below.

P E T I T I O N

We Call on the Department of Transportation to Add Seats to the Motorcyclist Advisory Council for Motorcycle Riders’ Associations

In 2015, Congress re-established the Motorcyclist Advisory Council in the Highway Bill to advise the Federal Highway Administration on “issues of concern to motorcyclists.” This important group would serve as the ONLY official forum on a national scale for motorcyclists to have an open dialogue with the Government to discuss concerns like road and barrier design, the emergence of autonomous vehicles and other areas of the nation’s highways and infrastructure which impact motorcyclists in a unique way.

In 2017, an announcement was made naming 10 individuals to serve as appointees to the Council. Regrettably, all but one individual selected was represent the technical aspects of the Council, including engineering, construction and traffic safety systems as well as roadway data. Only one seat out of ten was designated for a national motorcycle riders’ association and speak for the 8.5 million motorcyclists in the U.S. And though 8 of the 10 appointees have their motorcycle endorsements, their intended purpose for participation on the Council is to represent the infrastructure and technical side of the conversation, not to advocate for riders. Nor do they have the authority to speak on behalf of riders at large, as would other motorcycle riders’ associations at the national and regional levels.

We, the below signed, call on the Secretary of Transportation to add 3 additional seats to the MAC; another seat for a national motorcycle rider’s association dedicated to on-street riders as well as at least two other seats for regional motorcycle riders’ associations.

Adding these three seats will ensure a balanced and fair composition to the Council and will adequately represent the voice and concerns of street motorcyclists across the nation.

#LetRidersSpeak

Prepared Remarks

By

Megan Ekstrom, Vice-President of Government Affairs

Motorcycle Riders Foundation

On 5th of December 2017

At the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Meeting

My name is Megan Ekstrom and I am the Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation or MRF provides leadership for states’ and regional motorcycle riders associations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders. Through our state partners and affiliates, we have a network of over 250,000 motorcycle riders representing all 50 states.

I’d like to start by thanking the Federal Highway Administration for allowing me to speak. As many in this room already know, the MRF has been critical of the parameters and the process for participation in the Motorcyclist Advisory Council – particularly with regard to the lack of representation for state and national motorcycle riders’ associations.

First, I want to be very clear that our grievances are in no way intended to be an attack or criticism of the 10 current appointees to the MAC. Each one of these individuals (several of which I know personally) bring important areas of expertise to the table. Whether that’s engineering or construction, safety or roadway data, each of their voices is critical to ensuring a successful MAC. I also recognize that the majority of the appointees are motorcycle riders themselves and can speak to their own individual riding experience.

While we recognize and appreciate this effort to be inclusive, we continue to be concerned that this important group, the ONLY one of its kind on a national scale, fails to include adequate representation of the nearly 8.5 million motorcycle riders on our nation’s roadways.

While the majority of MAC appointees have their motorcycle endorsement, only ONE out of TEN of these individuals can speak for the rider community at large and has the authority to do so and is here to serve that specific purpose

We believe the MAC should have more of these.

Associations have the ability to speak on behalf of a larger group of individuals, identifying common ground, areas of interest and prioritization of issues. They can point out different concerns in various parts of the country, geographically identifying where needs are most urgent based on feedback from their extensive member networks.

While the AMA can certainly help to fulfill that role, we are concerned that only one voice to speak on behalf of 8.5 million is enough.

I am not alone in voicing this concern – this year almost 40 members of congress from both the House and Senate, both Republican and Democrat, sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Chao laying out the concerns I have reiterated. Each of these letters stated that in order to facilitate a successful MAC, the Federal Highway Administration should allow more seats for designated motorcycle riders associations in order to ensure a productive dialogue.

I will submit these letters again for the record as well as a petition that I am bringing forth:

This petition signed by over 5,000 motorcycle riders in the U.S. calls on the Secretary to add 3 additional seats to the MAC: another seat for a national motorcycle rider’s association dedicated to on-street riders as well as at least two other seats for regional or state motorcycle riders’ associations. If these 3 seats are added, which is permitted under the discretion of the Secretary, it will result in a more robust conversation, ensuring that the purpose of the MAC, as written under the statute, is fulfilled as it was intended by Congress

Thank you for listening to our concerns – like everyone in this room, the MRF simply wants to ensure that the unique needs, experiences, and requirements of motorcyclists from across the U.S. are being considered and heard.

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.

Urge your federal representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 3990 limiting presidential monument authority

 

Urge your federal representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 3990 limiting presidential monument authority

Legislation to help ensure designations have local support

 

The American Motorcyclist Association supports H.R. 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act, introduced in October by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). The bill amends the American Antiquities Act of 1906, further defining the authority of presidents who use the act to set aside public lands as national monuments.

Take Action

Currently, the Antiquities Act allows presidents to make national monument designations, but limits the area of new monuments to “to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

The AMA believes that previous presidents overstepped their authority under the act and designated much larger swathes of land as monuments, sometimes encompassing millions of acres. Such sweeping designations may jeopardize opportunities for responsible motorized recreation.

Under H.R. 3990, presidents would gain authority to reduce the size of existing monuments, under some circumstances. In addition, the legislation would allow the president to unilaterally designate land up to 640 acres. Monument designations between 640 and 10,000 acres would be subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would require approval from all county commissioners, state legislatures, and governors in the affected area.

We hope you will use the simple process below to send a message to your representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives to co-sponsor this important legislation. You can preview the message before submitting it.

Take Action

Now more than ever, it is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA to help us protect our riding freedoms. More members mean more clout against the opponents of motorcycling, and your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail and racetrack and in the halls of government.

To join, call (800) AMA-JOIN. To encourage your friends to join, tell them about the many AMA benefits you appreciate and forward the phone number to them.

Thank you in advance for taking part in this important effort to match recreation opportunities to demand. If you do submit comments, please let us know at grassroots@amacycle.org.

 

It’s not too late, get motorcycle rider advocates on the Motorcyclist Advisory Council

 

Elmer ,

In less than a week the Motorcyclist Advisory Council will convene to discuss issues important to motorcyclists; road curve and design, self-driving cars, road barriers – all of these items will be discussed. Do you know how many motorcycle association representatives are on the Council to discuss these critical issues? ONE. That’s right. ONE.OUT.OF.TEN.

Help me deliver a strong message to the Federal Highway Administration by signing a petition to request for additional seats for motorcycle associations to serve on the Council and speak on behalf of the motorcycle community.

We’re up to almost 2,700 names so far – can you help me double that?

Forward this message, Post the link on Facebook. Distribute to your family, friends and fellow riders. Together, we can send a strong message to the Federal Highway Administration. THIS IS OUR COUNCIL AND WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED.

Together, let’s spread the word: #LetRidersSpeak

Sign the Petition NOW

-Megan Ekstrom

Vice-President, Government Affairs

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation

 

SAVE THE DATE: Bikers Inside the Beltway 2018, MAY 14-15, 2018

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR BIKERS INSIDE THE BELTWAY!

Though there is no fee to participate, YOU MUST REGISTER by April 30th!

Bikers Inside the Beltway 2018 Falls Church, VA / Washington, D.C.
Date: Monday, May 14, 2018 and Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The 10th Annual Michael “Boz” Kerr Bikers Inside the Beltway is the ONLY National Motorcycle Lobby Day held in our nation’s Capitol. Motorcyclists from around the country ride to D.C. to help educate Members of Congress about the issues facing motorcyclists today. This event will be held Monday, May 14 and Tuesday, May 15, 2018.

 

Download the Flyer Here

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS & HOTEL INFO:

Lobbying Prep. Session

Monday, May 14th at 7:00 pm
Governor’s House Inn, 6650 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042

Lobby Day

Tuesday, May 15th (KSU: TBD)
Group ride into DC to the motorcycle parking area from the Best Western Falls Church – Arlington parking lot

Hotel Information

Best Western Falls Church – Arlington ($125 per night)
6633 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042 (703) 532-9000 Free Parking/Breakfast/Wifi – Shuttle available to the metro

Governor’s House Inn ($89 per night)
6650 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042 (703) 532-8900 Free Parking/Breakfast/Wifi – Shuttle available to the metro

More information and online registration: Bikers Inside the Beltway 2018

We’ll see you in Washington!
-Motorcycle Riders Foundation-

DO NOT BE SILENCED. Sign the Petition to Have Your Voice as a Rider HEARD

 

Today, I made the request to Federal Highway Administration to deliver oral remarks at the first MAC meeting scheduled for December 5. I plan on announcing the petition during this meeting BUT WE MUST HAVE MORE SIGNATURES.

 

Post the link on Facebook. Distribute to your family, friends and fellow riders. Together, we can send a strong message to the Federal Highway Administration. THIS IS OUR COUNCIL AND WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED. ONE seat out of TEN to speak on behalf of 8.5 million riders. This is not enough. This is NOT an attack on the 10 individuals that were chosen to serve on the MAC. This is a battle cry to ensure the Council is more representative of ALL riders from ALL regions to speak exclusively on behalf of rider interests.

Together, let’s spread the word: #LetRidersSpeak

 Sign the Petition NOW

-Megan Ekstrom

 

 

 



 

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

 

 

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 – Zoom Zoom Goes the RPM Act

It was a delightfully busy week for the long-sought-after legislation, The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act also referred to as the RPM Act (though internally, your MRF lobbyist refers to it as the “EPA Needs to Get the Eff Out of Motorcycle Racing Act”).

The legislation got attention in both the Senate AND the House advancing out of a subcommittee. Here’s more:

H.R. 350, Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), passed the subcommittee by a vote of 13-9. (For those that don’t know, there are 13 Republicans on the committee, and 9 democrats…you do the math.) As a reminder, the RPM Act clarifies that the EPA needs to keep its tree-hugging hands to itself when it comes to modifying your motorcycle for competition at the racetrack. They tried to suggest they had the authority to do this and though they were shut down, this bill would put that in black and white. During the hearing Rep. Hudson said, “This interpretation by the EPA directly conflicts with the original purpose of the Clean Air Act.” For those that don’t know, the Clean Air Act is a decades-old statute that the EPA has been using to push the envelope when it comes to their authority over a shit ton of other issues including climate change. It’s a bigger issue than just RPM, and many in Congress would like to overhaul the original law completely. But I digress…

The Senate also rolled up its sleeves on the RPM Act, holding a hearing in an Environment and Public Works Subcommittee. Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) said during the hearing that the EPA tried to circumvent the regulatory regime to hurt the motorcycle industry and Americans all across the country. Your MRF was a signatory on a letter that was entered into the record as a part of the Senate hearing. The letter supported S.203 and urged the Committee to take a vote on the bill. To see a copy of the letter, contact Megan@mrf.org

All of this recent activity bodes well for the legislation. It’s easy to forget just how many hoops one has to jump through to make it into law. There are hearings on the subcommittee and then the full committee, “markup” by both subcommittee and full committee, which is the process of editing the bill and adding amendments and making changes. And then the biggest hurdle is vying for floor time and consideration. And remember…that’s just ONE chamber. We have a bicameral legislature, so that same process has to happen in the opposite chamber. And if they don’t pass an identical bill? Lord, help us because the process starts once again. It’s not impossible, but it’s an uphill battle and it takes determination and patience. So, let’s try and remember that – Washington, DC is a powerful city, but it moves slowly. Stick with us, and we won’t let you down.

 

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES –

A bit of a repeat for those who read last week, but I’ve learned that sometimes you have to say things a few times to make it stick:

The MAC. You’ve all heard my rant about the MAC. Government at its worst. And while its purpose according to the statute is to “advise the Federal Highway Administration on issues of concern to motorcyclists” all but one of the selected council members selected are there to represent the technical aspects of the Council, like engineering, construction and traffic safety systems. Only one seat out of ten was designated for a national motorcycle riders’ association to speak for the 8.5 million motorcyclists in the U.S. And though 9 of the 10 appointees have their motorcycle endorsements, their intended purpose for participation on the Council is to represent the infrastructure and technical side of the conversation, not to advocate for riders. Nor do they have the authority to speak on behalf of riders at large, as would other motorcycle riders’ associations at the national and regional levels. So, we continue to fight against this injustice, and you can help. On Tuesday December 5th, the MAC will hold its first meeting. I am attending. Not only am I attending, but I will also be there to personally deliver and enter into the record a petition asking the Secretary to add 3 additional seats to the MAC – 1 for a national motorcycle riders’ association that ONLY represents on-street riders and 2 others for state or regional motorcycle riders’ associations.

Will you help me send a strong message by signing the petition? And take it one step further and circulate this link to your friends, colleagues and family? They don’t need to be a rider to sign; they just need to share the MRF’s opinion: that you can’t have a successful motorcycle council with only 1 person to speak on behalf of 8.5 million riders.

Sign the Petition NOW by clicking on this link:

http://cqrcengage.com/mrf/app/sign-petition?1&engagementId=414594

 

STATE NEWS – Wisconsin and Michigan Deliver the Goods

And by goods, I mean motorcycle rights’ champions. This week, we announced that Congressman Tim Walberg (Michigan) and Senator Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) will be awarded the 2017 Motorcycle Legislator of the Year Award. Congressman Walberg, who represents Michigan’s 7th District, was one of the leading sponsors of a proposed resolution addressing the profiling of motorcyclists (H.Res.318) introduced in May. Senator Johnson was the lead Republican in sponsoring the Senate companion to the profiling resolution. He continues to support the riders in his state through working to ensure motorcyclists’ perspective on automated vehicles policies and EPA emissions issues, i.e. the RPM Act (or as I like to call it the ENTGTFOOMR Act…see 1st paragraph for the reference).

Though we had many solid candidates this year, we think these guys went the extra mile. We would like to honor them for that and will be looking to host a special event in conjunction with this year’s Bikers Inside the Beltway Event in D.C. Do you think your legislator should be next year’s recipient? Let me know…

 

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

A few items to report on for this week…

On Wednesday, the MRF hosted a webinar on Political Action Committees or PACs. We had 27 attendees call in and follow along as our experts in PAC building delivered a solid overview of how to avoid jail time if you have a PAC or want to start a PAC. They also highlighted ways you can fundraise for the PAC and things you can do if you are interested in starting your own PAC. Now, are some of you asking, Megan – what the hell is a PAC? I got you: the PAC is a separate fund with the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates. Who do we help elect? BIKERS. Who do help defeat? Freedom-hating non-bikers. The MRF PAC has over $20,000 in it, and as next year brings a new election cycle, we’ll be looking to cut checks to those who support us.

Another couple fun things – last week’s bulletin had a picture of me testifying at a NHTSA session on autonomous vehicles. Though we are still waiting to see if NHSTA heard us, I can tell you for sure a few others certainly heard our concerns. Shortly after I delivered my remarks, I was contacted by Bloomberg Government’s Transportation reporter and Car & Driver Magazine. Both were interested in what the MRF had to say, and after doing interviews with both media sources, we should reach some new audiences with our message once the articles are published. I’ll be certain to send those along.

Quick reminder: No bulletin next week as Congress is out of session, eating turkey in their district. Happy Thanksgiving from your MRF staff.

 

 

Ride Free,


Megan Ekstrom

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.

 

Motorcycle Riders Foundation Announces Recipients of ‘Legislator of the Year’ Awards

 

 

For Immediate Release

November 15, 2017

Motorcycle Riders Foundation Announces Recipients of
‘Legislator of the Year’ Awards

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tim Walberg (Michigan) and Senator Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) will be awarded the 2017 Motorcycle Legislator of the Year Award, it was announced this month by the Motorcycle Riders Foundation. Since the organization’s inception in 1984, the Legislator of the Year Award annually recognizes lawmakers for their commitment to advancing policies that support motorcycle riders across the nation. The announcement came after careful consideration from the Board of Directors for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation at their annual conference.

Congressman Walberg, who represents Michigan’s 7th District, was one of the leading sponsors of a proposed resolution addressing the profiling of motorcyclists (H.Res.318) introduced in May. If passed, the legislation would increase public awareness on the issue, as well as encourage state law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcycle profiling in written policies and training materials. Congressman Walberg was also supportive in other motorcycle-related legislation, supporting the RPM Act and leading the charge in addressing concerns over the lack of motorcycle representation on the reestablished Motorcycle Advisory Council. Walberg himself is an avid motorcyclist and co-chair of the House Motorcycle Caucus.

“Tim has always been a great friend to the motorcycle community, said Vince Consiglio, Executive Director of ABATE of Michigan and member of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, “We know we can count on him to make sure our voice is heard in the halls of Congress.”

Also honored as Legislator of the Year in the Senate, is Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. Senator Johnson was the lead Republican in sponsoring the Senate companion to the profiling resolution, working across the aisle with Senator Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire. He continues to support the riders in his state through working to ensure motorcyclists’ perspective on automated vehicles policies and EPA emissions issues related to racing. “We continue to be impressed with Senator Johnson’s commitment to riders in his state and across America,” said Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard, Chairman of the Board for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation as well as an active leader for ABATE of Wisconsin. “We can think of no better recipient of this award than Senator Johnson,” he concluded. His efforts related to the anti-profiling measure help reinforce the First and Fourth Amendments as cornerstones of the Bill of Rights.”

With a network of more than 250,000 motorcycle riders and supporters nationwide, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the nation’s premier motorcycle rights organization. They provide leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders and are dedicated to serving as a national advocate for the advancement of motorcycling and its associated lifestyle.

Both Senator Johnson and Representative Walberg will be presented with a personalized leather riding vest with their names inscribed at an upcoming event in May.


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.

 

Your Weekly Biker Bulletin from Inside the Beltway

 

 

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 – Comments on Ethanol Threaten Trump Pick, Support for Autonomous Vehicles Legislation Grows
Kathleen Hartnett White, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, faced bipartisan opposition during a Senate confirmation hearing this week. Both Republicans and Democrats used her past statements on climate change and ethanol to raise concerns about her nomination. She was called a “science denier” and accused of promoting misinformation by Senator Carper from Delaware. That may not seem like a big insult in the biker world, but its fairly uncommon here in D.C. I think a rough translation to biker speak is basically that she is a f***ing idiot and a liar. So there…now you can see the gravity of the comments. So what exactly did Hartnett White say to invoke the comments? In the past she had called for the RFS to be repealed. But after Senator Deb Fischer from Nebraska called her an “extremist” she backed down saying that she would support Trump’s proposal to expand the RFS program in the future. Not.Good.At.All. Despite the tough questions she faced, Sen. John Barrasso, chairman of the committee, said he expects the committee will approve her nomination. After the committee’s approval, she must be then confirmed by the full Senate

This week a letter from some major power players in D.C. was sent to Senator John Thune, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee professing their love for the AV START Act. What’s that you ask? A major legislative proposal which would dictate the safety hoops that self-driving cars have to go through before hitting the road. What do we like about it? The bill includes our requested language on identification and response to motorcyclists in the safety mandate section…UNLIKE the House bill and the recently issued NHTSA guidelines. The National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and numerous other leading state and local transportation officials agreed in their letter. They like the Senate version better too. See the full text of the letter below:

https://images.magnetmail.net/images/clients/AAMVA/attach/AVStartActAAMVA.pdf

And as a side note, your MRF has spent the week hitting up offices in the House of Representatives carrying a similar message to let them know that if these bills move, we like the Senate version better because of its consideration of motorcyclists. And guess who has been helping deliver that message? Harley-Davidson. Your MRF and the lobbyist from Harley have been taking joint meetings on the issue to deliver the rider and corporate perspectives. It’s a good strategy, plus the HD lobbyist always wears sweet leather Harley jackets to all of our meetings. Maybe your MRF lobbyist should get one of those?!?! Just sayin…

EXECUTIVE & REGULATORY UPDATES – Listen Up, NHTSA!
ARE YOU LISTENING? At a public meeting Monday on NHTSA’s autonomous vehicle guidance, your MRF aired out our gripes with the proposed safety assessment asked of autonomous vehicle manufacturers. YEP – that’s me (the back view…sorry) speaking to NHTSA officials. I reminded them of the incident in Arizona where a Tesla on autopilot hit a stopped police motorcycle. I reminded them that in their proposed guidance, they call out important groups of roadway users like pedestrians, bicyclists and ANIMALS, but fail to mention the 8.5 million motorcyclists in our nation. I reminded them that autonomous vehicles policy DIRECTLY affects us and that we need a seat at the table. Did they hear us? Time will tell…I was told that they are already hard at work on version 3.0 of the guidance.

STATE NEWS – California Efforts on a State Anti-Profiling Measure
Many of you have (hopefully?!) seen my recent editorial on Professor Blade and the complete and udder absurdity of his arrest for his brass knuckles (or to be more accurate, WEDDING RING) in California. (if you haven’t seen this, reach out for a copy or check out our Facebook page). Professor Blade is continuing to bang the drum and this week organized a meet and greet with Shirley Weber. Weber is an Assemblywoman to the State of California and is responsible for introducing legislation requiring law enforcement to, among other things, annually report demographics to the Attorney General on all stops conducted. There is also a training requirement in the bill and Professor Blade and a working group, which includes MRF Rep Keith Johnston, are trying to loop bikers into the bill language. This is an excellent strategy – in politics its often easier to hitch your horse to a wagon that’s already moving. Keep up the pressure, California! Side note, California is the state with the most reported cases of profiling. According to data collected by the Motorcycle Profiling Project, over 54% of all reported instances of motorcycle profiling stem from that state…

MRF NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
I’m singling out this Call to Action because WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. So PLEASE, copy and paste the section below and blast it out to your friends, colleagues, and family and consider sharing it on Facebook. (just be sure not to copy and paste the part above where I refer to a potential EPA official as a ******* idiot. K, thanks!

SHARE THIS:

LET RIDERS SPEAK!

In 2015, Congress re-established the Motorcyclist Advisory Council in the Highway Bill to advise the Federal Highway Administration on “issues of concern to motorcyclists.” This important group would serve as the ONLY official forum on a national scale for motorcyclists to have an open dialogue with the Government. And yet, all but one individual selected was there to represent the technical aspects of the Council, including engineering, construction and traffic safety systems as well as roadway data. Only one seat out of ten was designated for a national motorcycle riders’ association to alone speak to the riding experiences and concerns of more than 8.5 million motorcyclists in the U.S.

This is unacceptable, we must petition the government to add motorcyclists to the Council!

Together, let’s spread the word: #LetRidersSpeak

Sign the Petition NOW by clicking on this link:

http://cqrcengage.com/mrf/app/sign-petition?1&engagementId=414594

To all of our members that have served to preserve the Freedoms we cherish – Thank You and Happy Veterans Day!

RIDE FREE-


Megan Ekstrom

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.