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09NR38 - MRF News Release - Washington Update

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16 December 2009

Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF V.P. of Government Relations & Public Affairs


WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama, on Friday, announced that he has nominated David L. Strickland to be the new administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Strickland has served for eight years on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. As the Senior Counsel for the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, he is currently the lead staff person for the oversight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He has also served as the lead Senate staff person in the formulation of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) reforms and standards included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and in a staff leadership role in the reauthorization of the NHTSA in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (SAFETEA-LU).

His work in advising Commerce Committee members led to the inclusion of several significant vehicle safety mandates, including the electronic stability control mandate for every passenger vehicle. Mr. Strickland advised Congressional members on safety reforms and funding increases for the NHTSA's seatbelt and drunk driving grant programs. Mr. Strickland earned his J.D. degree at Harvard Law School, and his B.S. Degree in Communication Studies and Political Science at Northwestern University.

Strickland’s nomination was the subject of a Senate Hearing yesterday where he faced no opposition.

The MRF looks forward to continue to work with Mr. Strickland once he is approved by the full Senate. We hope he takes a sensible approach to motorcycle safety.

2010 grant money

The last round of the 2010 grant money was dispersed recently. $7 Million dollars total was sent to individual states to be used for motorcycle safety purposes. All 50 states received at least $100,000 with some of the more populated states getting more than $300,000. To see the full list click here

On another note

It has got virtually nothing to do with motorcycling but many riding organizations have kept a close eye on the Patriot Act. The Patriot act is a federal surveillance program designed to give greater abilities to federal investigators when working on international terrorism issues. Some fear that giving the ability to the feds to intercept private information will eventually be used on other groups of individuals, not just terrorists.

Three key provisions are expiring at the end of this year and lawmakers are looking to include their extension in an upcoming Omnibus. An omnibus is giant piece of legislation that lawmakers are unlikely to vote against.
Congress typically includes controversial provisions in omnibus legislation and the patriot act is controversial to say the least.

One of the expiring provisions allows the government to seek orders from a special federal court for “any tangible thing” that it says is related to a terrorism investigation, such as business records. Another allows the
government to seek court orders for roving wiretaps on suspected terrorists who shift their modes of communication.

The third provision, which the Justice Department told lawmakers in September has never been used, allows the government to apply to the special court for surveillance orders on “lone wolf” terrorists not necessarily connected to a larger organization.

The MRF has no position on the Patriot Act.

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The following is a list of the States that qualified for FY 2009 Section 2010 grants and the amounts to be awarded:

State FY 2009 Motorcyclist Safety Grants
ALABAMA $114,238
ALASKA $100,000
ARIZONA $111,200
ARKANSAS $100,000
CALIFORNIA $482,959
COLORADO $110,080
CONNECTICUT $100,000
DELAWARE $100,000
FLORIDA $257,007
GEORGIA $164,399
HAWAII $100,000
IDAHO $100,000
ILLINOIS $220,884
INDIANA $133,372
IOWA $101,658
KANSAS $104,884
KENTUCKY $105,047
LOUISIANA $104,965
MAINE $100,000
MARYLAND $106,176
MASSACHUSETTS $119,970
MICHIGAN $186,872
MINNESOTA $130,550
MISSISSIPPI $100,000
MISSOURI $136,277
MONTANA $100,000
NEBRASKA $100,000
NEVADA $100,000
NEW HAMPSHIRE $100,000
NEW JERSEY $144,587
NEW MEXICO $100,000
NEW YORK $291,150
NORTH CAROLINA $158,704
NORTH DAKOTA $100,000
OHIO $202,304
OKLAHOMA $107,642
OREGON $100,000
PENNSYLVANIA $214,038
PUERTO RICO $100,000
RHODE ISLAND $100,000
SOUTH CAROLINA $101,080
SOUTH DAKOTA $100,000
TENNESSEE $127,038
TEXAS $366,564
UTAH $100,000
VERMONT $100,000
VIRGINIA $138,601
WASHINGTON $127,519
WEST VIRGINIA $100,000
WISCONSIN $130,235
WYOMING $100,000
TOTAL $7,000,000