Election is over and we now know who is in office for the next two(2) years. We have continued to work on bills but couldn’t make decision on who to sit down with until the election was over with. Now that we know who is in office we can move forward.
Here is where we are on bills and some further updates:
- HIPPA: we are having conversation with Senator John Nelson on supporting the HIPPA bill and have had conversations with him and his staff. They seem to be supportive on the bill and understand that some insurance companies have not accepted claims where a motorcyclist was involved in an accident. They are doing research from their end and should be back with us shortly. Our last meeting was very positive and we’ve given recommendation on wording for the bill. One of the reasons for picking Senator Nelson was that he had the best record for success of bills in the Legislation. Will keep you posted on this one.
- Distracted/Texting: We have made the decision to not do a texting bill but look at a Distracting bill instead. This was based on the problems that states have with just having a pure texting bill. We attended the “Meeting of the Minds” meeting and talked with a lot of folks from other states on texting. We had conversations with MRF and the MRF Lobbyist recommended that we look at the Maine Distracting bill which he felt is the best one out there. Since that time, we have had conversations with Maine and other states and feel if we do this bill that it would be best to look at Maine’s bill for ours with some changes. We have had conversations with some of our Legislative folks on this bill and have a follow-up meeting on the 17th of this month to talk further. As you all know, it’s not as simple as we want to do this. 39 other states have some sort of texting bill in place and we have two(2) cities here in Arizona with it. Comment made and response by another biker : An individual made the comment; “I am not in favor of texting while driving, I’m just wondering when and where this was brought up as a motorcycle specific issue?” It might not be a biker specific issue. BUT… It is a huge issue for bikers. 9 out of the last 10 times (just in the past year) I have just about gotten creamed by a car or pickup, when I looked to see what the crap they were thinking about. They had a phone in their hand and were not paying attention to ANYTHING else on the road. And seeing as motorcycles are much smaller than most cars they are much easier to miss if the other driver is already distracted. The woman who sideswiped my bike a year ago, hit me and never even knew she hit me until I pulled in front of her and stopped and informed her that she hit me and showed her the scratches on my brand new, 2 week old bike. Distracted driving is an ENORMOUS issue for bikers. And being such a huge issue for motorcyclists we need to address this as a threat to all of us. We need to get all the background and the correct information before sitting down with our Legislative folks. We also need to keep in mind that we have a HUGE budget problem within our State and we need to look at where this would be in as a priority as our Legislative folks work on everything they have as a priority list.
- Lane Splitting: As we know this bill did not pass last year. We had a couple big problems. We got it through the House and the Senate but the Governor vetoed it. She vetoed it for a number of reasons. Number one ADOT and DPS were not in favor of it. The argument was that there wasn’t enough statistics on saving of lives or accidents. The other factor which is a big one, we found out after the fact that a lot of motorcyclists did not want this bill. We had a lot of folks tell us that they were glad that it did not pass. For those reasons we have had limited conversations on this bill at this time. We have not ruled it out but we need to keep in mind where our support is.
- Money swept from Highway Safety Fund: We had dollars swept from the Highway Safety fundalong with many other funds. An attorney had been contacted by a representative from another MRO and the attorney informed him that there was no way of us getting this money back. The challenge we have and it’s a big one, is our State Budget. We are seeing state jobs being eliminated and more money being pulled out. The education system within our State is seeing some huge cuts and will probably see more. I’m not sure where it ends. We had a conversation with Senator Nelson and talked to him about the cuts. He said it gets down to a lot of real tough decisions on where do you cut or not cut as much. At this time we’ve been watching our budget close at the council and trying to get dollars committed as soon as we can but we don’t want to make hasty decisions for the wrong reason also. This is a not an easy one and all we can do is keep fighting for this and trying to keep what we have.
- Emissions for Maricopa County: We have a meeting with ADEQ on December 15th. EPA had asked for more information and ADEQ has got that information and will have that passed back to EPA by the end of the year. We are still hoping to have the Emissions gone from Maricopa County next year. ADEQ has done a great job on getting information to EPA but seems like it has taken forever.
That’s it right now. I’m committed to keeping you informed on what we have going on and at times it seems like forever to get meetings set up or more information back but as we get more concrete information, I’ll get that out to you.