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10NR02 - MRF News Release - Washington Update

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
10 February 2010

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


WASHINGTON UPDATE - Although Washington DC is under almost three feet of snow and the Federal government is shuttered, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) would like to remind you that issues facing Congress are definitely not hibernating. Health care reform has dominated the legislative and political debate, and just because it’s not front-page news right now does not mean that a reform bill is dead; quite the opposite actually. The President mentioned his desire to sign a bill into law at any point in the future in his first State of the Union address. Vague and shifting requirements coming from the White House on provisions in a perfect bill, coupled with Congress ramming bills through both Chambers under the cloak of early morning darkness, should give everyone pause on this issue.

Neither of the bills passed by the House or Senate outlines anything with respect to motorcycles such as required helmet use in order to participate in a government-run health insurance program. And when you look at the political details, it does seem unlikely that either of the current Senate or House bills will make it into law. With the election of Republican Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts and the death of long-time House Democrat John Murtha from Pennsylvania, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Democratic leadership just doesn’t have the votes in either Chamber to pass either of the current proposals.

However, if we look to past actions by the Congress and the final rulemaking process, it becomes apparent that the rulemaking process is not always good for the American motorcyclist. After all, this is the same process that brought the current loophole in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that allows insurance providers to discriminate against motorcyclists, and the legislative intent on that bill was to end discrimination. The point is that we, as active motorcyclists, owe it to ourselves to stay involved in the legislative process as much as possible. As always, the MRF will keep you updated on this important issue.

ANOTHER SCOOTER IN THE SENATE - That’s right. Another motorcyclist has been elected to the United States Senate. Republican Scott Brown pulled off what will be known as one of the most bizarre outcomes in a state-wide election in history. You see, Brown wasn’t supposed to win. He didn’t have the money or name recognition, and he was in the wrong party to win statewide in the uber-liberal state of Massachusetts. So when he handily won the election, the pundits were stunned.

Brown has committed to riding his motorcycle to DC at some point with his biker brethren from Massachusetts. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation Political Action Committee made a donation to Brown’s campaign at the request of the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association. Have a federal candidate that needs some help? Submit a request to Jeff@mrf.org.

SPRING LOBBYING - Spring is just around the corner which means A) you are fantasizing of warmer weather and longer days to ride, and B) your State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organization (SMRO) should be considering a trip to DC. It’s lobbying season, and the time of year when our grassroots efforts shine brightest, so make some time to come to DC.

BIKERS IN THE BELTWAY - The successful event held last year known as Bikers in the Beltway will occur again. Dates are likely to be mid-May 2010. The MRF will get exact dates and details out to you as soon as possible.