02-12-2004

04NR07 - Senate Passes TEA, House Postpones

MRF E-MAIL NEWS
Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, DC 20013-1808
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Bolin
karen@mrf.org (e-mail)
253-833-7899 (voice - Pacific Standard Time)

February 12, 2004

#04NR07 - SENATE PASSES TEA, HOUSE POSTPONES

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned of several significant developments regarding Transportation Equity Act (TEA) reauthorization legislation.

Yesterday the Senate voted to table the Warner-Clinton amendment regarding states enacting primary seatbelt laws. This reflects the lack of majority Senate support at this time to initiate punitive measures to force states into compliance with a federally mandated safety agenda.

The Senate passed a cloture motion this morning to limit debate and amendments regarding TEA. This afternoon, the Senate passed their version of TEA. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) testified earlier this week, entering lengthy comments regarding motorcycle safety into the Congressional Record. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) signaled his support, and Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado) signed on to support the Murkowski Amendment for Motorcyclist Safety.

Unfortunately, the Murkowski Amendment is not part of the TEA legislation passed by the Senate today. However, there is also no language of concern that would negatively impact the motorcyclists' rights movement. The MRF would like to thank Senator Murkowski and ABATE of Alaska for their continued tireless efforts in introducing and monitoring the progress of our motorcycle safety initiatives. We would also like to thank Senators Campbell and Inhofe for their support, as well as SMROs and motorcyclists nationwide for all of their ongoing efforts regarding our TEA initiatives.

The House passed a four-month extension for the current TEA, which is scheduled to expire at the end of the month. This extension is simply a practical matter to prevent any interruption in road, transportation and other projects while the House continues to review and debate the TEA reauthorization. The MRF has strong assurances that the Murkowski language will be included in the House version of TEA. When passed, the House version will return to the Senate, and on to Committee conference between the House and Senate.

At this time the House is scheduled to hold committee mark-up at the end of the month, with floor action scheduled for the first part of March. Congressional staffers who have worked closely with the MRF's TEA Agenda have indicated the SMROs must be ready for a concentrated grassroots lobbying effort at the end of February and into the first weeks of March. This coincides with many SMRO visits to Washington, DC. The MRF will continue to monitor this closely, work with our partners in the SMROs, and facilitate the organization of this effort. These same staffers have indicated the best course of action right now is to prepare for the work needed when the House begins action.

The MRF will have lobbying packets ready for the SMROs coming to Washington during this time. There will be briefings at the MRF Washington, DC office, and MRF board members in DC to assist. "Talking Point" bulletins will be posted on the MRF web site for all to use, along with current information and "calls to action," when necessary.

Congress will be in recess the entire week of February 16, 2004. As always, if any proposed schedule regarding action on TEA should change, this information will be distributed immediately.

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.
- MRF: My Ride is Freedom -

The first motorcyclists' rights organization to establish a full-time legislative advocacy presence in Washington. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom. MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the very founders of the American rider rights movement among its leading members. Motorcyclists worldwide can thumb-start their search for rider rights and safety on the web at www.mrf.org.

All information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is an independent, membership-based national motorcyclists' rights organization headquartered in Washington D.C. which operates in co-partnership with State Motorcyclists' Rights Organizations nationwide. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulation, motorcycling safety education, training, licensing and public awareness. The MRF provides individual and SMRO member-volunteers with guidance, support and information to protect motorcyclists' rights and advance motorcycling and its associated lifestyle. The MRF sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists' rights activists and publishes a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.

Voice: 202-546-0983, Fax: 202-546-0986, E-Mail: wyld@mrf.org, website: http://www.mrf.org



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