If you’re wondering why AB-1824 was voted through, without so much as a peep of opposition, this is why.
Like a good majority of automotive enthusiasts, I’m elated to know there’s a piece of legislation, AB-390, specifically being voted on to rescind AB-1824’s abolishing of Fix-It tickets. But, why was AB-1824’s exhaust law amendment even put in, in the first place? Thanks to Overcrest: A Pretty Good Podcast and one of their earlier episodes (on Jan. 11, 2019,) they had the foresight to call California Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, an assemblyman identified on a Change.org petition, to get some insight on AB-1824.
First, anyone who’s actually read the bill will know that this isn’t just an exhaust bill but a series of bills bundled into one. There’s actually a legislative term for this called an Omnibus bill or a bill deemed to be so uncontroversial on all accounts that it would pass without much protest or repercussion. Such was obviously not the case.
Little did our California elected officials know that, while most voting members of the public would gloss over AB-1824, let alone read it, they would stir up quite the protest online, as is the case when a tenet of a young car enthusiasts life, modifying your own car, is threatened.
I’ve coped Jay Obernolte’s words verbatim from the podcast, the segment starts around 34:30
“The rationale for changing it was that just issuing a fix-it ticket wasn’t sufficient incentive for people not to do it (modify their exhausts illegally.) I think that if you look at the text of the digest, that’s not something that any reasonable person would look at and say, “Oh, yeah, that’s something we should allow. We should allow people to cut their mufflers out of their system and that should be lawful.
I think you can see why the vote was a single NO vote against it in the assembly last year. The intent of the bill was not meant to attack the car culture.”
The Assemblyman goes onto say that he’s very much of a car guy, his first car being a 1971 Mach 1 Ford Mustang, highly modified.
It’s safe to say Assemblyman Jay Obernolte is very much a friend of the car community.
The assemblyman goes onto say that there was a lack of communication between their constituents and their representatives when it came to this bill and there was no indication that this particular part of the bill would face such a backlash.
That last part is crucial to understand not only as a car enthusiast but as a Californian and American, why we must communicate with our lawmakers. We must do better in participating in our lawmaking process. That means staying informed and communicating where clarification would’ve done some good.
Joining SEMA’s action network is a great start. In addition, when some legislation that touches close to home comes across your attention, following that bill in its legislative process and participating where you can (phone calls, letters, tweets, Instagram posts, e-mails etc) is key.
As you might know from my previous blogs, AB-390 goes through the transportation committee on March. 8.
Read through my previous blog linked above and consider participating in the legislative process.
Source: Overcrest Podcast