Skip to main content

MEETING NOTES: December 16, 2023 Original Oyster House, Spanish Fort, Alabama

In attendance:
Matthew Schroeder
Shane Coker
Blythe Joslin
Richard Comston
Rodney Green
Fran Barber-Bruyn
Neil Bruyn
Keith Stieber
Karin Stieber
Michael Stieber
Kathleen Zimmer
Freddy Wheeler
Kris Cook

Kris passed out meeting notes from the previous meeting, along with a treasurer’s report. There was a successful motion to accept the notes from the 8/19/23 meeting and treasurer’s report as presented. These documents are approved and are now a part of the records of Dixie ABATE.
We drew for the two winners of the 2nd Amendment Raffle. We notified the two winners – both responded, so we didn’t have to draw any more tickets. Winners were David Short, from Cleveland, AL, and Dave Walton, from Cedar Hill, Missouri.
Kris to set up the Dixie ABATE tent at the Accident Scene Management Class on March 9 at Riders HD.
Freddy said he was busy last year with an annexation fight, so he couldn’t be very involved with Dixie ABATE’s legislative priorities, but working with the annexation issue gave him a lot of good contacts in local government. Per Freddy, it’s good that we go to the state house and serve breakfast every year, because it’s helping both sides put faces with names. One accomplishment was the hands-free bill last year. It gave us a foot in the door. At this time, driving with a cell phone in hand is a secondary violation, so you can’t be pulled over for that alone. He said to remember how the seat belt law was gradually tightened up from a secondary violation to a primary violation over time.
The City of Huntsville has enacted legislation that makes driving with a phone in your hand a primary violation. Freddy said we may want to push for more localities to enact legislation like that, even if the
state doesn’t do it yet. Freddy has approached public safety people in Mobile to ask them to do the same. This year, we will be working with Michelle and Sheila, of Hands Free Alabama, to coordinate with municipalities that might be persuaded to make holding a cell phone in the hand while driving a primary moving violation within their borders, despite the fact that that is not the case in the state overall. The state is still in the so-called grace period, where you have to be pulled over for something else in order to be ticketed for driving with your phone in your hand.
Freddy said we still need to push for someone to sponsor legislation that will remove the extra 5% assessment we have to pay taxes on for our motorcycle tags. We need to connect with our local politicians and get to know them and see if there is any willingness to sponsor that change in the state’s tax law. It is important to get to know our representatives at the local level as well as the state level, because often, local officeholders move on to become state officeholders. We’re in it for the long game.
To change Alabama’s helmet law would need a sponsor on both sides of Alabama government, and we need many more members to proceed with that pursuit. We need to show up with a hundred members, not just ten or fifteen. Keith said it took Michigan 29 years to get out from under its universal helmet law, and the last three years of that time, they had a lobbyist. The insurance industry has dished out some backlash, making the insurance situation for motorcyclists even worse in that state than it already was. A link to how Michigan’s motorcycle insurance is set up now, since they did away with their helmet law:
Michigan’s catastrophic claims fund, established in 1978, has 27 BILLION dollars in it. The system is patently unfair to motorcycle riders. Another link:
Read the information at these links. These are things we will have to think about when we decide to fight for helmet freedom.
We discussed the Legislative Breakfast that we’re hosting at the State House on Wednesday, March 13. It is very important for us all to show up. Fran suggested we sent a letter to every motorcycling group in the state, inviting them to come. Kris to write a letter and share it with Fran.
Michael said he sent an email to John Angle, Mobile city Police Sergeant, to see about meeting with him to discuss motorcycling in Mobile, but he has not responded.
Freddy has put his name in the hat for one of 10 at-large positions on the recently reauthorized federal Motorcycle Advisory Committee, known as the MAC. Members have not yet been announced. The MAC advises the department on road safety issues that have an impact on motorcyclists.
We talked about what should go into our position paper this year. Per Freddy, “low hanging fruit” is the hands free work that we can piggyback onto, including asking for the information to be put up on highway message boards, and also working on getting the ad valorem tax assessment rate for motorcycles lowered to be the same as that for cars. Generally, we need to stay on the people who put the messages on those boards, making sure there are messages for drivers about motorcycles, and messages for motorcycle riders too.
Matthew made the motion that Freddy and Michael reach out to Jennifer and see if we can partner with Hands Free Alabama in any way this year. Shane 2nd the motion. The motion passed, so we will get in touch with Hands Free Alabama and offer our support. It is good any time we partner with another group. It helps everyone when we network.
We discussed HR 906, the Repair Act. It is “to ensure consumers have access to data relating to their motor vehicles, critical repair information, and tools, and to provide them choices for the maintenance, service, and repair of their motor vehicles, and for other purposes.” The last action was:
Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee by Voice Vote. Action By: House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce
Co-sponsors are:
Date Cosponsored
Rep. Boyle, Brendan F. [D-PA-2]*
Rep. Davidson, Warren [R-OH-8]*
Rep. Perez, Marie Gluesenkamp [D-WA-3]*
Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-18] 02/28/2023
Rep. Thompson, Glenn [R-PA-15] 02/28/2023
Rep. Pettersen, Brittany [D-CO-7] 03/01/2023
Rep. Walberg, Tim [R-MI-5] 03/01/2023
Rep. Khanna, Ro [D-CA-17] 03/10/2023
Rep. Gimenez, Carlos A. [R-FL-28] 03/29/2023
Rep. Luna, Anna Paulina [R-FL-13] 03/29/2023
Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2] 03/29/2023
Rep. Davis, Donald G. [D-NC-1] 04/28/2023
Rep. Rutherford, John H. [R-FL-5] 04/28/2023
Rep. Obernolte, Jay [R-CA-23] 05/11/2023
Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1] 05/11/2023
Rep. Amodei, Mark E. [R-NV-2] 05/17/2023
Rep. Posey, Bill [R-FL-8] 05/17/2023
Rep. Pappas, Chris [D-NH-1] 05/17/2023
Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24] 05/17/2023
Resident Commissioner González-Colón, Jenniffer [R-PR-At Large] 05/18/2023
Rep. Nunn, Zachary [R-IA-3] 05/23/2023
Rep. Banks, Jim [R-IN-3] 05/23/2023
Rep. Grothman, Glenn [R-WI-6] 05/23/2023
Rep. Vasquez, Gabe [D-NM-2] 05/23/2023
Rep. Gottheimer, Josh [D-NJ-5] 05/23/2023
Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4] 05/24/2023
Rep. Titus, Dina [D-NV-1] 05/24/2023
Date Cosponsored
Rep. Peltola, Mary Sattler [D-AK-At Large] 06/06/2023
Rep. Carl, Jerry L. [R-AL-1] 06/06/2023
Rep. Rose, John W. [R-TN-6] 06/30/2023
Rep. Neguse, Joe [D-CO-2] 06/30/2023
Rep. Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [R-AR-1] 07/19/2023
Rep. Deluzio, Christopher R. [D-PA-17] 07/19/2023
Rep. Langworthy, Nicholas A. [R-NY-23] 08/08/2023
Rep. Quigley, Mike [D-IL-5] 08/08/2023
Rep. Tokuda, Jill N. [D-HI-2] 08/08/2023
Rep. Gonzales, Tony [R-TX-23] 09/05/2023
Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20] 09/05/2023
Rep. Steube, W. Gregory [R-FL-17] 09/12/2023
Rep. Caraveo, Yadira [D-CO-8] 09/12/2023
Rep. Valadao, David G. [R-CA-22] 09/18/2023
Rep. Schrier, Kim [D-WA-8] 09/18/2023
Rep. Castor, Kathy [D-FL-14] 10/24/2023
Rep. Bergman, Jack [R-MI-1] 10/24/2023
Del. Moylan, James C. [R-GU-At Large] 10/25/2023
Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9] 10/25/2023
Rep. Bost, Mike [R-IL-12] 11/29/2023
Rep. Harder, Josh [D-CA-9] 11/29/2023
Jerry Carl is the only Alabama representative to sign up so far. Contact your congressperson and ask them to co-sponsor this bill. If you are in Jerry Carl’s district, thank him!
We talked about the state of rider training in Alabama and how it needs to be more accessible and affordable. We do not know how much the ATSC (Alabama Traffic Safety Center, in Montevallo) gets for motorcycle rider training or how it is spent. There is no transparency, as far as we have been able to find. We need to try again to work with them to get more rider training available in Alabama.
We discussed H.R. 4468, the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act of 2023. This bill limits the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with regard to regulating emissions standards for new motor vehicles. Specifically, the EPA is prohibited from prescribing a regulation related to new motor vehicle emissions standards that (1) mandates the use of any specific technology, or (2) results in limited availability of new motor vehicles based on the type of new motor vehicle engine.
Additionally, the bill prohibits the EPA from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing the proposed rule titled Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles. Among other purposes, the proposed rule includes more stringent greenhouse gas standards for both light-duty and medium duty vehicles starting with model year 2027.
It passed the house and has been received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
We talked about working with the State Department of Education to get our Share the Road module into drivers ed classes.
Michael Stieber’s father Keith is a lifetime member of Dixie ABATE, even though he lives in Michigan. He said he’s known us for 10 years and he was very complimentary about what he’s seen of us in those ten years. We appreciate him both for those kind words and for his membership and participation. He is a veteran in the rider’s rights movement.
Keith asked us if any Alabama vehicle registration money goes into a catastrophic insurance fund. We don’t think that is the case. Here is how our registration fees are distributed:
$10 of the fee for passenger automobiles and pickup trucks and $8 of the fee for motorcycles are distributed to the state’s general fund for use by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency for enforcing traffic and motor vehicle laws.
The remaining balance is distributed as follows:
Base Amount:
• 72% Public Road and Bridge Fund
• 21% City or County of Residence
• 7% Cities and Counties
Additional Amount: (For trucks)
• 64.75% Public Road and Bridge Fund
• 35.25% Counties
The first $150 collected from the annual license tax and registration fee from each battery electric vehicle and the first $75 collected from the annual license tax and registration fee on each plug-in hybrid electric vehicle shall be distributed as follows:
• 66.67% State
• 25% Counties
• 8.33% Municipalities
The remainder is deposited into the Rebuild Alabama Fund.
Next meeting: Judy’s Place, 3977 Government Blvd, Mobile, AL 36693, 2 PM February 17, 2024