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April 2012


September 2012

15 - WOHVA Annual Membership Meeting Trail Ride, Spokane, WA

16 - WOHVA Annual Membership Meeting, Spokane, WA

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Spring is here and the "real" riding season for many "fair weather" riders is upon us. The other "season" which just ended is our legislative session and it was a busy one this year. This issue will focus on a recap of our state legislative work. If you have thoughts about our content please let us know at info@WOHVA.org or invite a WOHVA Board member to come to your club meeting. We're eager to hear your thoughts.

Happy Trails!

State Legislative Update

The short version of this year’s Washington State Legislative session is:
• The Legislature finally adjourned for 2012 after a special session,
• No anti-OHV legislation passed, and
• All OHV funding was left intact.
But there’s always more between the lines!

The regular 2012 Legislative session ended March 8th and the Special Session ended April 11th. Since budget legislation was not completed, the Governor called for the special session limited to budget issues. This killed all OHV-related bills that could not be considered NTIB (necessary to implement budget).

Two Discover Pass bills were passed by the Legislature and received the Governor's signature. HB2373 will add two-vehicle transferability, a $50 multi-vehicle family pass (only one vehicle at a time), and will allow organizations to pay a fee to the agency to exempt event participants. SB6387 directs all Discover Pass infraction revenue to the agency issuing the infraction.

None of the budget proposals include any misdirection of any OHV-related funding (read "NO NOVA THEFT THIS SESSION!").

SB5366 is legislation that would allow four-wheeled ATVs to use certain roads with speed limits under 35mph if they install specific street equipment and apply for a special license. This bill went through a series of amendments where it evolved from being a good bill into something that is now anti-OHV. New criminal penalties were added for any OHV riding where they are not specifically allowed. The equipment requirements are not very difficult and instead of an inspection, the owner must sign a declaration form for the Department of Licensing. The problem with this process is that it requires a reasonable understanding of sections of the RCW (Revised Code of Washington) and it would be a gross misdemeanor to make an error on the form. That could lead to up to a year in jail.

WOHVA and the NMA worked with key pro-OHV legislators and helped them write an amendment that would correct most of the anti-OHV language. WOHVA has withdrawn our opposition to SB5366 contingent on the adoption of this amendment.

SB5366 was passed by the Senate but did not pass the House even during the special session.

To further complicate this issue, there were two well-meaning quad owners that were putting in a full-time effort with the Legislature trying to get this bill passed regardless of how bad the amendments may be for OHV enthusiasts. As an indication of how misguided these two people are, they have been telling the Legislature that WOHVA does not credibly represent OHV owners and that the two of them are the only real representatives of OHV owners across the state. Behavior like this only serves to annoy the Legislature and does not help our sport.

Our proposed legislation to provide additional liability protection for landowners that allow recreational access had strong sponsorship and support in the Senate. Unfortunately SB6080 was strongly opposed by the trial lawyers lobby and was blocked from getting a committee vote. This was a significant reminder as to how powerful the trial lawyers are in Olympia.

An important lesson here is that with legislative activity happening all year, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fund our efforts and effectively represent your OHV interests! Look for fund raising requests to be coming from WOHVA ... or please beat the rush and DONATE HERE!.

Legislation that was passed in 2011 that allows the conversion of off-road motorcycles for street use went into effect at the first of the year and successful conversions are beginning to take place.

For more details on the status of OHV-related legislation, please check the most recent bill tracking sheet HERE on www.WOHVA.org.

Federal Legislative Update

While some progress has recently been made, the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is still seriously at risk. It is funded completely by a portion of the federal gas tax. This is a good reason to contact your Congressman and Senators. Ask them allocate the fuel taxes paid by off-road vehicle users to this program.

You can find your Congressman by going to https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

And your US Senator at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Federal legislation that would remove wilderness study area designation from large tracts of federally-managed public land is still slowly working its way through the committee processes. This designation has been used as a reason to ban OHVs in these areas. Paul Yelk is taking the lead on this issue.

WOHVA & NMA Go To Supreme Court For NOVA Funds

On February 7th, the Washington State Supreme Court agreed to hear our case. Supplemental briefs will be filed in early April and the case will be heard May 22nd.

WOHVA Needs Your Donations

You knew this was coming . . . "Freedom Isn't Free" and while WOHVA is all-volunteer and non-profit, our membership fees do not cover most of our expenses. Fundraising is our major source of income.

Our major expense is for legal counsel. We're currently fighting a court battle with the State of Washington over the "NOVA Funds Redistribution" in the Supreme Court (know of any OHV-friendly legal counsel interested in pro bono work?). And we also have minor legislative and land use-related travel and communications expenses. Please consider the financial strength of our opposition, and give what you can to WOHVA to help us protect your rights.

To donate either online or by mail, please DONATE HERE.

Thank you!


WOHVA AT YOUR GROUP – Interested in having a WOHVA representative attend one of your club or business meetings? Or maybe you have a ride or event coming up? Send an e-mail to info@WOHVA.org Please include date, location, and a point of contact!

MAILING LIST – To get on our mailing list, join WOHVA at www.WOHVA.org or join a WOHVA member club or organization.

WHERE TO RIDE – Looking for new places to ride in Washington State? Check out our WOHVA Where To Ride website for the latest info on areas, roads, trails, or MX Parks near you!

Got CLOUT? – Email clout@getclout.org for more information on how to have a direct impact on events in Olympia.

WOHVA IS YOU – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – See something here that interests you? Did we strike a resonant chord? WOHVA is 100% volunteer and your efforts make a big difference. Please send an e-mail to info@WOHVA.org to let us know how you’d like to help.

Thank you,