Senate Bans NHTSA Lobbying!

As debate continues on the reauthorization of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) our amendment to prohibit NHTSA from lobbying has been voted on by voice vote and passed. It will be included in the final version of ISTEA II that is expected to pass the Senate this week. After being added to the list the vote was taken today at approximately 11:45 a.m. The MRF staff continues to monitor progress as we watch for consideration of our other amendments for inclusion in the ISTEA reauthorization. The amendment to stop National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) from lobbying state legislatures was offered by Senators Campbell (R-CO), Gramm (R-TX), and Moseley-Braun (D-Ill).

Reads as follows:

CAMPBELL (AND GRAMM AND MOSELEY- BRAUN) AMENDMENT NO. 1959 Mr. CAMPBELL (for himself, Mrs. Moseley-Braun, and Mr. Gramm) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by them to amendment No. 1676 proposed by Mr. Chaffee to the bill, S.1173, supra; as follows: At the appropriate place in the bill, insert the following:

(a) Prohibition on Lobbying Activities.--(1) No funds authorized in this title shall be available for any activity to build support for or against, or to influence the formulation, or adoption of State or local legislation, unless such activity is consistent with previously-existing Federal mandates or incentive programs.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit officers or employees of the United States or its departments or agencies from testifying before any State or local legislative body upon the invitation of such legislative body.

We at the MRF are extremely pleased with the inclusion of this very important language. We feel this language will provide for a more level playing field at the state level when dealing with helmet legislation. It will remove the ability for NHTSA to come to a state without invitation and "taint the water" regarding helmet laws. It will stop federal tax dollars from being used to lobby against us in our own state capitols.

Steve Zimmer Vice President of Government Relations at the MRF stated, "This is a major step forward in our legislative efforts. Having this language included in the Senate version of the ISTEA reauthorization strengthens our position for its inclusion in the House version, BESTEA. It appears the House is now talking about beginning discussions on BESTEA much earlier than expected. Action on the House side may begin the first of next week.

The MRF would like to thank Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Phil Gramm, and Carol Moseley-Braun for their efforts to get this amendment included. Their support of and work on behalf of the motorcyclists in this country is greatly appreciated. Please let them know.

For additional information contact Steve Zimmer at the MRF office in Washington 202-546-0983 or by e-mail:

More info: 1) 1st Press Release, 2) ISTEA details, 3) ISTEA goes to vote


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