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Myers withdraws support for ATV registration bill

April 02, 2010|By ERIN JULIUS
  • Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany
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ANNAPOLIS -- Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. has pulled his support for a bill before the House of Delegates that would require the registration and titling of all-terrain vehicles.

House Bill 445 was heard before the House Environmental Matters Committee on Feb. 16 but no action has been taken.

Myers, R-Washington/Allegany, initially was listed as a co-sponsor of the bill, but pulled his support in response to his constituency, he said.

"Being from Western Maryland, I have to pay attention to my constituents. They clearly have a deep passion about this bill," Myers said Thursday.

The bill passed the Senate last month despite votes against it by Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington; Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington; and Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Washington/Frederick.

Ray Givens, president of the Washington County Federation of Sportsman's Clubs, said local sportsmen oppose the measure.

"There's no real purpose to it other than a way to charge a fee or unregulated tax to customers of this state," Givens said Thursday.

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Mike Twigg, owner of Twigg Cycles in Hagerstown, supports the bill, as does the Maryland Motorcycle Dealers Association, he said.

"The first thing we have to understand -- these are vehicles," Twigg said.

All-terrain vehicles are the only vehicles in Maryland that do not require proof of ownership, Twigg said.

The lack of a title makes it difficult to obtain a loan to purchase an off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) because loan institutions require that they hold the title to issue a loan, he said.

Issues also present themselves at the resale of these vehicles, Twigg said. With registered vehicles, a seller would transfer the title, but in this case there is no proof of ownership, Twigg said.

"Having a title for sale and resale is very important," he said.

The bill specifically refers to OHRVs, commonly known as all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes or snowmobiles. It would define those items as a vehicle and subject them to the titling requirement.

Under the bill, an excise tax would be imposed on any OHRV purchased on or after Oct. 1, 2010, for which sales and use tax is not collected at the time of purchase.

Edwards said he voted against the bill because sportsmen didn't support it.

"It's mainly to generate revenue more than anything else," Edwards said Thursday.

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, also was listed as a co-sponsor of the bill, but he would have been amended off it if the bill had gotten out of committee, he said Thursday.

Last year, a similar bill passed the House and was referred to a Senate committee, but no further action was taken. A crossfiled bill received an unfavorable report from the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

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