2021 Bikerday Update

After the 2020 elections, Minnesota is again the only state in the nation that has a divided legislature. The Minnesota House has a Democratic majority and the Minnesota Senate has Republican majority. And again the two parties have very different views on budget targets and policies for the state of Minnesota. The Minnesota legislature operates on a two year legislative session. When the House and Senate convened on January11th, it began the first year of the two year session. Therefore, all bills introduced in the 2019 and 2020 sessions are no longer active.

The Minnesota Capitol complex remains closed to the public through March 31st, 2021. This is unfortunate because the lawmaking process relies heavily on face to face interaction between citizens and their legislators. Because of the closure, ABATE of Minnesota has rescheduled Bikerday at the Capitol for April 21st, 2021. ABATE has also began the process of introducing legislation that is important to motorcyclists. Below are some issues I believe this motorcyclists would find of interest and an update on their progress in no specific order.

SF152 has been introduced by Senator Kiffmeyer. A House bill is awaiting introduction. This bill would raise the fee motorcyclists pay when they first receive a motorcycle endorsement from $18.50 to $26.50. And would raise subsequent renewals (every four years) of the endorsement from $13 to $17. While the dollar amounts are small, multiplied by the 420,000 people who have this endorsement will mean that motorcycle rider training will continue to be a local option. This bill will also benefit motorist awareness of motorcyclists programs and available motorcycle rider training. While these bills were not heard in committee last year, they have had support from high-ranking legislators of both parties.

SF9 has been introduced by Senator Osmek. A house bill is awaiting introduction. This bill requires law enforcement departments to have a training policy to avoid the profiling of motorcyclists. It is the same bill language from previous years. This topic continues to gain bi-partisan support. There is currently a lot of interest in policing issues and this bill could be part of a larger bill under consideration.

SF358 has been introduced by Senator Matthews. A house bill is awaiting introduction. This bill reduces the sales tax imposed on older motorcycles. Currently, motorcyclists who transfer a title for a motorcycle which is ten years old or older and valued at less than $3,000, or have a motorcycle that is 20 years old or older who  ask for a “Classic” specialty plate, pay a much higher rate of sales tax than an automobile meeting those criteria. This bill would put motorcycles on an even scale with automobiles. Motorcycles cause almost zero damage to our roads and should not be taxed at a higher rate than cars and trucks.

Mack