January 2020 Legislative Report
The 2020 State Legislative Session will begin on February 5th and end on May 6th. In preparation for this upcoming session, we will be retaining the services of Hughes and Cronin Public Affairs Strategies to monitor legislation related to the antique auto hobby, as we have done in previous sessions. In this monitoring capacity, Hughes and Cronin will inform us of the pending legislation. We report to you on any legislation potentially impacting the hobby,and ask you to contact your legislators and help get favorable legislation passed, and unfavorable legislation defeated (i.e., a "grass roots" approach).At the present time, we are not aware of any legislation planned to be introduced in the 2020 Legislative Session that will impact the antique auto hobby. So that is a good thing! The major challenge for the legislature will continueto be dealing with the state’s fiscal problems. In the 2019 Legislative Session, the fiscal year 2020 (which started July 1, 2019) and fiscal year 2021 budgets of $21.44 billion and $22.25 billion were approved. Revenues (i.e., various forms of taxes) were increased. Revenues (i.e., various forms of taxes) were increased by 2.1% for the current 2020 fiscal year and by an additional 3.7% for fiscal year 2021 starting July 1,2020. The current projections for these 2020 and 2021 budgets appear to be reasonably balanced.However, projections for future Connecticut budgets show that they will be running very large deficits of between $1 billion and $1.4 billion for fiscal years 2022 through 2024. So the financial problems for the state are far from over and will dominate future legislative sessions. Regarding titles for motor vehicles, in previous newsletters I reported that there the current DMV regulation has a couple of provisions in it that make prohibitive to obtain a title for our collector cars. We believe these provisions are unnecessary and will belooking to work with DMV to change their regulation.The two main problems we see with the current DMV regulation is that if we don’t have a valid out-of-state title for our collector car we will need to post a surety bond for our cars in accordance with Section 14-176of the state statutes. The process to post a surety bond is cumbersome, cost-prohibitive, and discourages us from obtaining titles for our vehicles. We feel that this provision should not be necessary if our collector vehicle has been registered in the State of Connecticutfor a reasonable period of time (say 3 to 5 years). We would like the need to post a bond to be waived if that is the case. The second provision we have difficulty with is the requirement to submit a sworn statement that the vehicle has been maintained or restored to acondition that substantially conforms with the original manufacturer’s specification. We believe we should be able to obtain a title for our motor vehicles,regardless of whether they have modifications. I drafted a letter to DMV requested a meeting with them to discuss the issue. That draft letter was handed out at the November meeting. I will collect any final comments at the February 3rd meeting and send to letter to DMV shortly thereafter.