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MEETING NOTES: December 17, 2022 Judy’s Place, Mobile, AL
In attendance:
Kris Cook
Matthew Schroeder
Shane Coker
Neil Bruyn
Fran Barber Bruyn
Jered “Troas” Rabren
Ira “Cowboy” Jones
John “Chico” Bethea
Michael Stieber
Freddy Wheeler
Susan McKinley
Chuck McKinley
Fredrick Johnson
Rodney Green
Joe Piggott (guest)
Keith Stieber
Karin Stieber
Michael Ferguson
Richard Comston
Chris “Biker Dad” Best
Kris passed out meeting notes from the previous meeting, along with a treasurer’s report. Cowboy moved to accept them as written. Michael seconded. Motion passed. These documents are approved and a part of the records of Dixie ABATE.
Freddy introduced special guest Joe Piggott, an Alabama State Patrol Troop Commander that has been riding motorcycles since he was eight. He ran for Representative in House District 100 in 2022, but did not win. (Mark Shirey is the new representative for District 100.) We talked with him about distracted driving from a State Trooper’s vantage point. Troopers who drive unmarked black Tahoes see everything. A texting driver drives like a drunk driver. Distracted drivers tend to drive too fast through construction zones, increasing the danger to workers. Drivers know that law enforcement is under-staffed, so they aren’t afraid of getting caught. How do you legislate common sense?
Joe reminded us that the old Department of Public Safety is now a division of ALEA. They are not short staffed because of a lack of money to pay troopers, but the pay range for state troopers is only from $34,387.20 to $57,504.00. It is not high enough to draw enough qualified applicants.
We discussed Jamie Kiel’s helmet law modification bill from last year. We think he will bring that bill again this year. The legislative session begins March 7, 2023. We will set our Legislative Day at the meeting on February 18.
We anticipate the hands-free bill to be pre-filed for the 2023 legislative session.
Freddy reported on the progress of the Southwest Chapter of Dixie ABATE. It meets quarterly, usually in conjunction with a R4R meeting. He also reported on our initiative to get the tax rate for a motorcycle to the same percentage as that of a transportation vehicle, as opposed to a recreational vehicle. The statute reads as below:
Ad Valorem Property Classes: Motor Vehicles
• Class I Motor Vehicles (30% assessment ratio): This class includes all motor vehicles owned by public utilities and used in the business of such utilities.
• Class II Motor Vehicles (20% assessment ratio): This class includes all motor vehicles that do not fall within the definition of either Class IV or Class I motor vehicles. This class includes motorcycles, utility trailers, recreational vehicles, leased vehicles not for private use, leased vehicle without a lease-purchase option contractual agreement, trucks weighing more than eight thousand pounds gross vehicle weight, and all vehicles used for commercial purposes.
• Class IV Motor Vehicles (15% assessment ratio): This class includes all private passenger motor vehicles including private passenger motor vehicles under lease-purchase option contractual agreements, motor vehicles registered in the name of a beneficiary of a trust, station wagons, sport utility vehicles (regardless of weight), vans, and pickup trucks to include all private passenger pickup trucks, under lease-purchase option contractual agreement, which weigh eight thousand pounds gross vehicle weight or less that are owned and operated by an individual for personal or private use and not for hire, rent or compensation.
Freddy and Michael talked about the need to talk with Rick Randolph at the Alabama Traffic Safety Center about getting the Motorcycle Safety Consortium back together. That group disbanded some years ago, with the result of motorcycle safety going to the back burner in this state. We need to pin down funding sources and how the funds available for motorcycle safety are being spent. We should be more familiar with the workings of the ATC.
Upcoming event: Dick “Slider” Gilmore to do a presentation in Alabama on 10/14/23. We hope to host it at the Barber Room downstairs at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Leeds, just outside of Birmingham. The event will begin at 11 AM. More information will be forthcoming.
Congratulations to Alan Patrick for winning the 2022 Court House Challenge! Alan received $200.00 cash for being the winner. There will be a related challenge for 2022, to be fleshed out at the February 18 meeting.
New leadership in Alabama state government for 2023:
Alabama State Senate
• Senate president: Greg Reed (R)
• Majority leader: Clay Scofield (R)
• Minority leader: Bobby Singleton (D)
Alabama House of Representatives
• Speaker of the House: Nathaniel Ledbetter (R)
• Majority leader: Scott Stadthagen (R)
• Minority leader: Anthony Daniels (D)
Freddy mentioned grants offered by the National Safety Council through NHTSA. Could we look into this possibility? We need to nail down what our program expenses would be, besides the biscuit breakfast for the legislators.
Matt ran over the MRF’s priorities.
Freddy and Matt discussed whether we could try to get Alabama to legalize lane filtering some time in the foreseeable future.
Matt announced the MRF’s Meeting of the Minds in Harrisburg Pennsylvania this year from the 21st through the 24th of September. He also announced the MRF’s Bikers Inside the Beltway event May 15 & 16 this year. Hotel is the Embassy Suites, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia. 703-684-5900. $219 per night.
You have to be registered by May 1. Room availability is limited.
Michael mentioned the number of motorcycle fatalities the Mobile area sees each year. What can we do to reduce/eliminate motorcycle crashes? We need to get more aggressive. Are billboards the best use of our money? Should we put up signs? We definitely need to have a membership drive. There are 125,810 registered motorcycles in Alabama. Our membership needs to grow to a reasonable proportion of that number.
Matt wants to give the accident scene management class. We need a sponsor, a time, and a place. Vicki SanFilipo teaches it. Slider Gilmore also gives this class. Lawyer Chris Klotz is willing to sponsor. We need 20 people.
We discussed setting up our tent where the Shriners host motorcyclists during Mardi Gras, on Jackson Street/St. Stephens, at Bob’s Diner. We need to ask the Mobile Police. Date?
We discussed awarding $200 at the end of the year to the member who recruits the most paid memberships.
We clarified the Freddy Wheeler scholarship. A life member can be reimbursed for taking the BRC after he/she has attended two meetings in the space of a year. Our flyers are clear, but do not address the life member situation.
We tabled the discussion of officer elections that were skipped at the end of 2022. This topic will be taken up on February 18.
NEXT MEETING: 2 PM Saturday, February 18, 2023, at Doc’s Seafood & Steaks, 24221 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL. Their phone number is 251-281-0888. There is a Mardi Gras parade in this area, so expect traffic and maybe to be blocked in for a while.