09-28-2004

04NR40 - MSF Delivers Response to Questions from the MOTM Panel

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, MRF President
karen@mrf.org (e-mail)

September 28, 2004

#04NR40 - MSF Delivers Response to Questions from the MOTM Panel

During the "Future of Rider Education" seminar at Meeting of the Minds a question from the floor was posed to panelist Tim Buche, President Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The question centered around MSF lobbying activities in Georgia, and MSF's involvement in the demise of rider education funding in Georgia.

Mr. Buche was not prepared to respond at the time, and asked to submit a written response by Tuesday, Sept. 28th. He further asked that the MRF release his response to MOTMs attendees and MRF members. The official MSF response is posted below.

This response is not an official MRF endorsement, nor does it reflect the MRF position on this matter.

Karen Bolin
MRF President





September 28, 2004 Via email


Ms. Karen Bolin
President, Motorcycle Riders Foundation


Dear Karen:

On behalf of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, thank you for inviting me to participate on the "Future of Rider Training" panel this past Saturday in St. Louis. As promised, here are MSF's responses to the two questions that needed further clarification. Thank you in advance for communicating these responses in their entirety to MRF members.

It is absolutely, categorically false that MSF lobbied to eliminate state funding for the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program - or any other state program. In fact, the MSF has a strong history of helping to protect or increase state funding for rider education programs.

During the last two years MSF has helped Michigan and Utah protect state funding for rider education. Additionally, for many years we have helped Massachusetts and South Carolina secure legislative appropriations for their rider education programs. When the South Carolina appropriation was vetoed in 2003, MSF intended to work to override the veto, but was told by program principals that an override was unnecessary. Therefore, without support from those involved with the program, MSF did not pursue a veto override to restore the appropriation.

In 2002, in response to a growing number of complaints from potential students about the unavailability of rider education courses in Georgia, from RiderCoaches regarding their inability to teach courses, as well as MSF member companies' increasing frustration with the inability to expand training opportunities for Georgia consumers, MSF began working with government officials in Georgia to address capacity concerns.

Unfortunately, efforts to increase training capacity in Georgia were seriously impeded because independent programs were not allowed to operate effectively, if at all, in Georgia.

Repeated discussions over a long period of time with the state coordinator in an attempt to address these concerns did not result in improvement.

Over the past two years, MSF has met several times with Georgia officials to discuss these capacity issues. During one of our meetings, a state legislator discussed the fact that Governor Perdue was exploring the privatization of a number of state government services. The governor had asked him to explore the possibility and options for privatization of the motorcycle rider education program.

In response to his request, we provided information on the framework for privatization as it is utilized in several other states. At no time did we promote, advocate for, or pursue complete privatization of rider education in Georgia or the elimination of state funding. In fact, it was made clear at all our meetings that our desire was to work with the existing state coordinator, within the framework of the existing Georgia State Motorcycle Program to increase the ability for more riders and prospective riders to participate in the GMSP.

As a result of our work in Georgia, the GMSP has formed a working group comprised of those within the rider education and training community to address mutual concerns and we are confident that the GMSP will continue as an even stronger state program.

Regarding MSF communication with Senator Murkowski's staff: Mike Pearlstein and Kathy Van Kleeck, of MSF's Government Relations staff, met with Bill Woolf of Senator Murkowski's staff and two other Congressional staff members prior to the December 10 meeting. They did not meet in person with him following the meeting, but Mike Pearlstein followed up with him by phone. During that phone discussion, Mr. Woolf read him a proposed change to the Murkowski amendment language. While MSF was evaluating the proposed change, the Senate passed TEA-21 reauthorization without the Murkowski amendment and action shifted to the House. MSF supports the motorcycle safety provisions contained in the House version.

Karen, please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you again for the opportunity to provide the MSF's responses to these questions.

Best regards,


Tim Buche
President
Motorcycle Safety Foundation



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