By Clarence Mills
Obama Orders Reconsideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
President Barack Obama has issued an order for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a formal reconsideration of the Bush administration's denial of California and 17 other states' ability to pass strict rules limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Clean Air Act gives the EPA authority to permit California, and other states, to adopt stricter emissions standards than federal policy.
The EPA is expected to make a decision within two months. Obama's proposal reverses the Bush administration's position on the California regulation.
The California regulation contains a super warranty provision that is opposed by the Automotive Service Association. The super warranty has been rejected in Arizona, Washington state and Florida Clean Car programs.
CARB Announces Public Hearing Notice
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced a Public Hearing Notice for June 25, to "Consider Adoption of the Proposed Regulation to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles Operating with Underinflated Tires."
National Motor Vehicle Title Information System Now Available
Potential buyers of motor vehicles can now access the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), a national database that provides the status of a particular vehicle's title, the title issue date, the previous state of the title, odometer reading and important "brand" information.
Salvage yards, automotive recyclers and insurance companies will be required to participate in the NMVTIS by reporting "end-of-life" and "salvage" vehicle data, information that is vital to protect consumers from purchasing vehicles unsafe for roadways.
The NMVTIS has been acclaimed a powerful tool for reducing the fraudulent sales of damaged, stolen and rebuilt vehicles.
Wyoming House Considers Automobile and Consumer Choice
The Wyoming House of Representatives is considering a bill for Automobile and Consumer Choice: House Bill 65. The bill is currently pending in the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee.
If passed, insurers would be prohibited from designating specific automobile repair locations to consumers, and automobile repair shops would be prohibited from charging more money for insured repairs than uninsured repair.
Further, House Bill 65 specifies that the lowest prevailing market rate may not be less than the cost to provide the repair, ensuring that repair shops make a profit.
California Holds Anti-Steering Hearing
California's Department of Insurance held a public hearing Feb. 25 to provide all interested parties the opportunity to present comments with respect to a new regulation on Insurer Recommendations of Automotive Repair Dealers.
The purpose of the new regulation will be to provide guidance and specificity to insurers with respect to the nature and degree of involvement they may have in a consumer's choice of an automotive repair dealer.
The proposed regulation states, "Except when a referral is expressly requested by the claimant, after a claimant has chosen an automotive repair dealer, the insurer shall not suggest or recommend that the claimant select a different automotive repair dealer."
House Small Business Committee Reviews Options for Health Care Reform
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business held a hearing Feb. 4 on "Health Care Reform in a Struggling Economy: What's on the Horizon for Small Business?"
Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman, said: "In today's hearing, we will discuss the rising cost of small business health care, and the barriers it creates for financial recovery. We will also explore ways to break down those barriers, and to bring the economy back on track."
Witnesses stated that small businesses are struggling to sustain health coverage for their employees; further, that the cost of health care programs is putting a strain on the possibility of new jobs.
Alissa Fox, senior vice president for Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBSA), testified before the committee. Fox proposed several recommendations for reducing costs and improving the quality of health care. BCBSA recommends that states establish State Insurance Marts (SIMs), where individuals and small businesses could easily compare coverage options. SIMs would offer:
1. Comparison of all insurance options
Velazquez also announced the CHOICE Act, a bipartisan bill that would allow businesses to obtain coverage at negotiated bulk rates through purchasing pools. To view other testimony from the hearing, visit www.TakingTheHill.com.
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