Weekly Legislative Update - September 16, 2019

TIA Re-energizing Environmental Advisory Council 

The Tire Industry Association (TIA), under the direction of President John Evankovich, is re-energizing its Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and has named former TIA President Dick Gust as chair.

Gust, who is president of national account sales for Liberty Tire Recycling and a member of the Tire Industry Hall of Fame, served as the EAC's first chair when it was formed in 2010 as a separate council within TIA. Several years later, TIA folded the council into its government affairs committee (GAC) and is now reinstating it as its own entity within the association. Gust is the current GAC chair.

From the outset, Gust said his goal for the EAC was to create a council of industry experts from various disciplines that could provide strategic information, advisory services, educational programs and government assistance that promote environmental awareness, economic viability and sustainable best practices for every aspect of the tire and rubber industry.

Together, he and Evankovich want to expand the EAC's educational programs and renew its leadership role in issues relating to the environment and sustainability.

In its first iteration, the EAC developed several best practice and position papers (which can be found on the TIA website - www.tireindustry.org) aimed at assisting the industry not only from an environment standpoint but also serving tire dealers and retailers operationally, Gust said. When Evankovich, an early EAC member, became TIA president for 2018-19, he and Gust decided to recreate the council to continue those efforts.

"Clearly the industry, at many levels, is focusing on sustainability and the EAC can serve as an educational source to assist with that," Gust said. "Also, many state governments are considering legislation that restricts the use of crumb rubber as infill for playing fields. The EAC can work with these governmental agencies to provide accurate data and information regarding the health and safety of crumb rubber."

A strength of the new EAC is the varied backgrounds of its members, Gust said. "Each brings a special knowledge, unique expertise and industry experience" to the council, he said.

In addition to Gust and Evankovich, the council's members include:

Monti Niemi, TDA Manufacturing;

Charlie Astafan, CM Shredders;

Farella March, Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma;

Debra Hamlin, Bridgestone Americas;

Mary Sikora, Scrap Tire News/Recycling Research; and

Roy Littlefield IV, TIA director of government affairs.

During a conference call earlier this summer, the council developed a new EAC mission statement, which is: "To identify recycled manufactured products and environmentally sustainable practices within the tire and rubber industry and promote them through outreach (community, industry, stakeholder) and education."

Gust said the council will meet regularly via conference call and will begin establishing goals and initiatives that align with this mission statement.

To learn more about the EAC, contact Roy Littlefield IV at (800) 876-8372 ext. 137.

WOTC Popping Up in Unexpected Places

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) has received a lot of attention from legislators this year. A report recently released by the Senate Finance Committee's Employment and Community Development Task force outlined a total of 16 bills, all introduced in the current Congress. Each would either expand, increase, or extend the WOTC program.

Guaranteed Jobs & Expanded WOTC

This bill would establish a 3-year pilot program under the Department of Labor to provide "guaranteed jobs" and income in 15 designated high-unemployment communities. Section 2(L) of the bill would expand WOTC to include a new target group, the "Qualified Participant in a Job Guarantee Program."

A "qualified participant" is defined as someone who participated in a job guarantee program for at least 3 months during the 6-month period ending on their hire date with their new employer.

Beneficial Ownership Update

There are some updates in the beneficial ownership legislative world. The Senate Judiciary Committee is strongly considering marking up S. 1889, the TITLE Act this year.

This bill is extremely similar to HR 2513, the Corporate Transparency Act. The TITLE Act would require states to collect the beneficial ownership (name, date of birth, address, drivers license number of anyone with an ownership stake) of small business owners at incorporation and require annual and periodic updates of that information. We estimate it will create a new reporting burden for over 5 million small businesses. 

Failure to comply with this legislation would result in up to 3 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

This bill would also allow the personally identifiable information of business owners submitted to the states to be subpoenaed by Congressional Chairman for any reason, and would allow State's the authority to publicly post the information. No doubt this information can be used to name and shame small businesses out of political activity.

In other news, we are still expecting a House floor vote on the Corporate Transparency Act at some point this fall. It is a priority of Chairwoman Waters and it's just a matter of Hoyer finding her floor time.

New California Used Tire Law

A new used tire law has been signed in California by Governor Gavin Newsom which forbids the installation of unsafe used tires on vehicles in the state.

This bill (AB 949) would prohibit an automotive repair dealer from installing an unsafe used tire, as specified, on a motor vehicle for use on a highway. The bill, except as specified, would require an automotive repair dealer to use a visual inspection to determine whether a tire meets the criteria of an unsafe used tire. 

In the bill the language reads that an unsafe used tire, is one that:

  • Has 1/16 inch of tread depth or less;
  • Has damage exposing steel belts or other internal components;
  • Has been repaired improperly; or
  • Has sidewall bulges indicating possible internal damage.

A violation of these provisions is considered a misdemeanor, the law states, unless otherwise specified, and may subject a licensee to disciplinary action, including license suspension or revocation.