Lobbyist Report – June 2019 – Bobbie

Motorcycle Profiling:

Motorcycle profiling means law enforcement arbitrarily uses the fact that a person rides a motorcycle or wears motorcycle-related apparel as a factor in deciding to stop and question, take enforcement action against or arrest a person or search the person’s vehicle with or without legal basis under the United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution.

Good news regarding our Motorcycle Profiling Memorial. It PASSED! This memorial will not only create awareness regarding motorcycle profiling but establishes a collaboration with law enforcement and the motorcycling community to address any incidents as they occur.

Our memorial was tailored after the federal House and Senate Resolutions. As passed by the House, our Memorial was filed in the office of the Secretary of State on March 1, 2019. The Secretary will transmit copies of our Memorial to the captain of each law enforcement agency in the State of Arizona.

The passing of the federal anti-profiling Resolution (SR54), just prior to our Memorial being heard, was a huge advantage. We were able to let our state legislators know that the U.S. Senate felt it was an issue that needed to be addressed. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and motorcyclists’ countrywide are working hard to pass the House version at the federal level.

We need everyone to be aware of. If or when you are ever profiled, you need to document the specifics. Exact Time, Date, Location of the stop (i.e. between mile markers xyz on Highway so and so).

We need to know the department of law enforcement that has stopped you. We need any information that you can get to the motorcycle lobbyists to help them determine who they need to contact about the stop.

Badge numbers, license plates, officer names. Our profiling memorial opened the doors for conversation, but we need to know the details to get us to the right party involved. Moving forward, this is crucial to stopping profiling in Arizona.

Texting while driving; prohibition; enforcement:
As many of you may already know, Arizona passed a bill this year to prohibit the use of a portable wireless communication device or stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.

It has all the normal exceptions related to emergencies etc. We currently have many cities and even my entire county with their own cell phone bans. Those will stay in effect until 1/1/2021 when the penalties piece of the bill goes into effect. Until then, law enforcement can pull you over but only give you a warning ticket.

VLT Tax:
A bill created a statute last year that allows the Director of ADOT to determine how much ‘additional’ VLT tax each registered owner will have to pay each year to fully fund the Highway Patrols budget. It was supposed to be limited to $18. As it turns out, it is an additional $32 dollars on every vehicle.

We worked hard this year, to pass a bill introduced, to repeal this new statute and take the funds out of the general fund. The Governor had stated he would veto it. The bill was stalled forever in final read in the House and going nowhere. While the legislators were still in session fighting over the budget, the Senate had several members, including Ugenti-Rita, the sponsor of the VLT tax repeal, that wouldn’t vote for a budget unless they got what they wanted.

The first option she was offered was a decrease in the amount over a period of 5 years. They followed that with an option to repeal at a later date. She agreed to them eliminating the fee completely in January of 2021. This revision was not made to the initial bill SB1001 but rather accomplished through the budget process.

Redefining Motorcycles/Autocycles:
With the recent proliferation of the Autocycles, some people feel that the federal definition of a motorcycle is no longer adequate. Many MRO’s have addressed this issue on the state level.

On the national level, Motorcycle rider Congressman Balderson who recently joined the House Motorcycle Caucus also is a member of the House Trans and Infrastructure Committee.

He has submitted a request to the committee asking them to “Direct NHTSA to re-evaluate the federal definition of a motorcycle as the current definition includes autocycles. This is an attempt to eliminate autocycles from being registered as motorcycles in the first place.

Here in Arizona, the Governor signed a bill that added numerous equipment exclusions for Autocycles, to the statute that eliminates them from having to wear a helmet. We already have a separate state definition for Autocycles and remember a few years ago we got ADOT to agree to separate Autocycle crash stats from ours.

Some think it’s time to take a look at the federal definitions of motor vehicles and bring those definitions in line with what is actually being operated on our roadways today.

Bobbi Hartmann
MMA Authorized Lobbyist