California state lawmakers met with representatives from the automotive specialty-equipment industry in the first-ever Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Sacramento Legislative Rally. Held in May, the event gave state lawmakers valuable insight into the $36.7 billion automotive specialty-equipment industry.
"SEMA has been engaged over the years with California Legislature on a series of industry-specific issues and a range of business concerns impacting the health of the state's specialty equipment industry," says Steve McDonald, SEMA vice president of government affairs. "Our successes in Sacramento would not have been possible without the relationships we have developed with California legislators over the years. By including California SEMA members in these efforts, the Sacramento Legislative Rally helped further increase awareness of our industry by state legislators and signal SEMA's intention to increase its contribution to the debate on significant issues."
During the event, SEMA members connected with state lawmakers on several significant issues, including the governor's proposed universal healthcare plan, emissions standards, vehicle scrappage, titling and registration and off-road land access. The day-long agenda included a breakfast briefing by SEMA government affairs personnel, meetings with lawmakers, regulators and the governor's key staff, in addition to an evening reception. SEMA members were briefed on critical issues by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Deputy Chief of Staff Cynthia Bryant, State Small Business Advocate Marty Keller, Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman Pedro Nava, Assembly Minority Floor Leader Mike Villines, Labor Commissioner Bob Jones and Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Officer Keith Umemoto.
During the Rally, state Sens. Ron Calderon and Dick Ackerman and State Assembly Members Martin Garrick and Nicole Parra joined the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. Supported by the SEMA Government Affairs office, the Caucus is a bi-partisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love and appreciation for automobiles. Working in state capitals around the country, Caucus members have sought to preserve and protect the automotive hobby by seeking the amendment of existing motor vehicle statutes and creating new programs to safeguard and expand the hobby. These legislators join Sens. Dennis Hollingsworth, Tom McClintock, Gloria Negrete-McLeod and Assembly Members Mike Duvall, Bonnie Garcia, Bob Huff, Kevin Jeffries, Doug La Malfa, Alberto Torrico and Michael Villines as California members of the Caucus.
"The event gave us a great opportunity to strengthen our relationships with the California legislators. The speakers were interesting and informative," says Joel Ayres of LEER. "By the evening, many additional people in the Sacramento Capitol knew about SEMA and what our industry is doing for California."
Ken Yoder, from RCD Suspension, adds: "This was a great experience. I was able to talk to the Assembly Member and Senator for the area that my facility is located in. We discussed several issues including worker compensation costs, the healthcare plan that the governor has proposed and land use issues. I was very impressed with the quality and enthusiasm of the lawmakers and regulators that spoke to us at the briefings."
More information about SEMA is available online.