BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2461
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 19, 2010

                               Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair
                   AB 2461 (Emmerson) - As Amended:  April 8, 2010
          SUBJECT  :  Vehicle registration amnesty

           SUMMARY  :  Extends an amnesty program for improperly registered  
          kit cars.  Specifically, this bill  :  

          1)Extends, until December 31, 2011, a program that requires the  
            Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to grant amnesty from  
            criminal action to vehicles that have been registered  
            previously or classified incorrectly and are subsequently  
            correctly registered.  

          2)Requires, as part of the process for becoming correctly  
            registered, that the vehicle meet the inspection and  
            maintenance tailpipe emission requirements, as tested by the  
            Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), for the model year assigned  
            in the amnesty application.  

           EXISTING LAW  :  

          1)Requires DMV to develop and administer a vehicle registration  
            amnesty program, which is to be in effect from January 1,  
            2010, until December 31, 2010, for vehicles that have been  
            previously registered or classified incorrectly and that are  
            subsequently correctly registered.  

          2)Provides, with certain exceptions, that a criminal action for  
            false statements relating to the value, make, model, or a  
            failure to register the vehicle may not be brought against a  
            current vehicle owner who participates in that amnesty  

          3)Requires specially constructed vehicles that apply for amnesty  
            to obtain a certificate of compliance from a smog inspection  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  The author is presenting this bill as a clean-up to  
          his AB 619 (Chapter 420, Statutes of 2008), which established an  


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          amnesty program for improperly titled or registered specially  
          constructed vehicles (kit cars).  

          AB 619 was intended to respond to widespread instances of  
          fraudulent titling that were under investigation by the  
          California Attorney General.  Several businesses had been  
          prosecuted for providing vehicle owners with false information  
          which allowed vehicles to be undervalued for registration  
          purposes, resulting in the assessment of lower registration and  
          sales tax fees.  Owners of "kit cars" and "hot rods," which have  
          been built or substantially modified by the owner, were being  
          registered as the year of the vehicle sought to replicate using  
          a fraudulent title or other paperwork.  This resulted in an  
          avoidance of smog requirements as well as lower sales tax and  
          vehicle license fee assessments.  

          This bill would extend the amnesty program, currently scheduled  
          to sunset at the end of this year, for one additional year.  It  
          has previously been estimated that the program will bring in  
          over $385 million in additional revenues to the state.  

          This bill also specifies an inspection procedure for vehicles  
          seeking to participate in the program.  The author reports that,  
          under current law, "BAR does not feel they have the authority to  
          implement the (Air Resources Board) recommended procedure for  
          testing amnesty vehicles which involves conducting a tailpipe  
          emissions smog test at the level current model year vehicles are  
          required to meet.  BAR believes their system requires a full  
          visual examination which looks for all the emissions equipment  
          present on a new vehicle.  The (kit cars) entering the amnesty  
          program are produced from a variety of parts and equipped with  
          engines never designed to meet current model year emissions  
          standards.  However, a retrofit kit has been developed that will  
          allow this population of vehicles to meet current year smog  
          standards.  The package of parts developed for this application  
          is modular and slightly different for each vehicle making it  
          impossible to compare any of these vehicles to current year  
          production original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vehicle.  With  
          this in mind, all interested agencies and private sector  
          advocates support a tailpipe only examination of the vehicles as  
          this will truly determine if the vehicle has been brought into  

          In regard to the extension of the program's sunset extension,  


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          the author notes, "the clouded legal authority surrounding the  
          emissions testing requirements caused months of delay making it  
          necessary to extend the program deadline."  


          California State Association of Counties (CSAC)

          None received

          Analysis Prepared by  :   Howard Posner / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093