MRF Alerts

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  • 06/11/2021 7:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Legislation authorizing roughly $547 billion for highways and other surface transportation over five years advanced in a House panel, despite opposition from Republicans who objected to what they called Green New Deal climate initiatives.

    The legislation (H.R. 3684) would authorize $343 billion for roads, bridges, and safety, $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, and $109 billion for transit. It aligns with many of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure priorities.

    Working into the wee hours on amendments, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee adjourned early Thursday after approving the measure on a 38-26 vote. Only Republicans Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania) and Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico) voted with Democrats in support of the bill.

    Included in the bill were three motorcycle related priorities that also made it into the 2020 version of this same bill.

    1) Expanded prohibition on motorcycle only check points, including prohibiting using the clothing or apparel of riders or their passengers to profile or target bikers.
    2) Reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, which gives bikers a voice within the Federal Highway Administration. Included in the bill, a seat on the council is specifically designated for a “representative of a national motorcycle foundation.”
    3) Inclusion of motorcycles as a specific category that autonomous vehicle studies must account for during the testing of this new technology. Additionally, a motorcyclist rights organization is assigned a seat on an autonomous vehicle working group at the U.S.

    The House Ways and Means Committee now must take up the bill to determine the funding mechanism for the $547 billion the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee just authorized. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on final passage in late June or early July.


    Pet Projects Return

    For the first time in a decade “earmarks” returned to the House of Representatives. An earmark is an allocation of government funds directed at specific recipients. These recipients are determined by Congress and it limits the discretion of the executive branch agencies in dispersing funds.

    In other words, Congress specifically says which projects get money and how much. This is sometimes referred to as “bringing home the bacon” or “pork barrel spending.” Individual lawmakers steer federal money back to their districts for specific named projects. The highway bill was long a baston of earmarks with the 2005 version of the bill featured 5,671 of them.

    However, famous earmarks like the “Bridge to Nowhere” lead to criticism of the process and eventually earmarks were banned in 2011.

    Earlier this year, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) announced that starting this year House lawmakers would be able to request funds for specific projects in the next highway bill.

    Proponents of earmarks have long argued they help “grease the wheels” in Congress enticing lawmakers to support legislation because they have skin in the game. They also argue as Rep. DeFazio said, “The discretion to fund projects should not be reserved for State or Federal bureaucrats,” adding “Elected representatives know the infrastructure needs of their district and should be allowed to identify projects and advocate on behalf of their constituents in legislation.”

    However, concerns about corruption as well as wasteful and excessive spending have led many to resist the temptation of earmarks.

    The bill passed this week by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure included 5.7 billion in earmarks dedicated to 1,473 local project requests by lawmakers. The bill includes 1,067 projects from Democrats, 403 from Republicans, and three bipartisan ones.

    With many Republicans in the Senate opposed to earmarks it is unclear if a final highway bill will contain the nearly 1,500 projects that were included in the House bill.  


  • 06/06/2021 10:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure unveiled its 2021 highway bill, titled the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in American Act. As you may remember, every five years Congress is required to reauthorize many of the highway related spending bills it passes. The current highway bill, known as the FAST Act, was given a one-year extension last year and is set to expire in September of 2021. The bill introduced Friday is a key component of the major infrastructure spending push the Biden Administration has made a top priority.

    For the last two years, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and its members have diligently educated and lobbied lawmakers about the need to include motorcyclist specific priorities in a new highway bill. These grassroots efforts were given a boost with the inclusion of three major motorcyclist specific items in the bill. The Democrat lead bill includes the following provisions in its nearly 1,300 pages of text:

    1. Expanded prohibition on motorcycle only check points, including prohibiting using the clothing or apparel of riders or their passengers to profile or target bikers.
    2. Reestablishment of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council, which gives bikers a voice within the Federal Highway Administration. Included in the bill, a seat on the council is specifically designated for a “representative of a national motorcycle foundation.”
    3. Inclusion of motorcycles as a specific category that autonomous vehicle studies must account for during the testing of this new technology. Additionally, a motorcyclist rights organization is assigned a seat on an autonomous vehicle working group at the U.S. Department of Transportation.


    The road ahead for a massive infrastructure plan remains uncertain. Negotiations between the House, Senate and White House will be contentious and as always political. However, what is certain is that the work of MRF members has ensured that motorcyclists are being heard in Washington, D.C. and as this newly released legislation shows they are being prioritized. 

  • 05/19/2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the last 15 months the halls of Congress have been silent. Health and safety restrictions have all but eliminated the normal atmosphere on Capitol Hill. However, this week things began to return to normal.  Bikers from over 25 states made their way to Washington D.C. and spent Monday and Tuesday meeting in person and via zoom with lawmakers and their staff. In many cases MRF members were the FIRST in person guests many members of congress had hosted since March of last year!

    Bikers advocated on issues related to profiling, autonomous vehicles, the highway bill, ethanol and a host of other items. The action wasn’t limited to D.C.  as MRF members who couldn’t make the trip spent the last few days meeting with elected officials and staff back home. In the coming weeks the MRF will put out calls to action on many of the topics we covered this week. You can help move our agenda forward by responding to these calls to action and build off of the great work done in D.C. But for now, enjoy some of the pictures your fellow rides snapped while in out nation’s capital! 


  • 05/06/2021 2:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is moving forward to make the 2021 Bikers Inside the Beltway our most effective event ever. Thank you for your commitment to the MRF’s mission. Thank you for making appointments with your members of Congress
      • Have you registered for Bikers Inside the Beltway? It’s free but time is running out! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER  
      • Have you made your appointments to visit your members of Congress? Make your appointments now in your district or in Washington, D.C.
      • Have you made your hotel reservations? Final date for hotel registration, May 13, 2021: 703-684-5900 Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

      • 05/03/2021 6:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Last Friday, champions of the motorcycling community in the House of Representatives introduced a resolution addressing motorcyclist profiling. The resolution H. Res. 366 has three key points:

        (1) promoting increased public awareness on the issue of motorcyclist profiling;
        (2) encouraging collaboration and communication with the motorcycle community and law enforcement to engage in efforts to end motorcycle profiling; and
        (3) urging State law enforcement officials to include statements condemning motorcyclist profiling in written policies and training materials.

        The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) applauds Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI), Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX), Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) for introducing this bipartisan resolution in the House of Representatives.

        During the 116th Congress, a record 138 Representatives cosponsored a similar resolution to the one introduced today yet it failed to reach the House floor for a vote. This came on the heels of the United States Senate unanimously passing a related resolution in 2018.

        Legislative action against the profiling of motorcyclists is not limited to Washington, D.C. Across the country, state legislatures are considering measures aimed at combating the profiling of motorcyclists. The MRF is joined by the Motorcycle Profiling Project, state motorcyclist’ rights organization, motorcycle clubs and individual riders taking a stand on this issue.

        With the U.S. Senate on record on the topic and state capitals around the nation taking action it is imperative the House of Representatives follow suit and pass H. Res 366.

        President of the MRF, Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard, stated “We thank Representatives Walberg, Burgess, Bustos and Pocan for their leadership on this important issue. Motorcyclists in every state are impacted by profiling. This issue isn’t going away, and it’s well past time for the House of Representatives to go on the record about the need to end motorcyclist profiling.”

      • 03/26/2021 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
        Motorcyclist Advisory Council Bill Introduced
        This week a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced H.R. 2141, the Motorcyclist Advisory Council Reauthorization Act. The Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) was first established by Congress in 2005 and reauthorized in 2015. The MAC is responsible for providing advice and recommendations concerning infrastructure issues related to motorcyclist safety including barrier design, road design, construction, maintenance practices and the architecture and implementation of intelligent transportation system technologies.
        This is the second time that lawmakers have introduced a stand-alone bill to reauthorize the MAC. Last year the bill was turned into an amendment and added to the House passed highway bill. That amendment and this legislation make common sense changes to the MAC.  Some of these changes include:

        • Reauthorizing the MAC for six years. This ensures that the MAC has an established timeline for its work.
        • Requiring that the MAC submit a biennial recommendations report. At a minimum three reports on motorcycle policy will now be required to be submitted to the Department of Transportation and Congress for review.  
        • Clarifying the membership of the MAC.  This bill sets aside specific seats on the 12-member board for motorcycle riders and advocates. For example, one seat is reserved for each of the following, a national motorcyclist foundation, a national motorcyclist association and a national motorcycle manufacturing association.

        The MRF would like to thank lead sponsor Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and original cosponsors Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH), Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) for their leadership on this important issue to motorcyclists.

        MRF President, Kirk Willard said “The bill introduced by Rep. Gallagher ensures that the nearly 10 million bikers in America are included in the discussion surrounding our nation’s transportation network. No conversation about our roads, bridges or infrastructure is complete unless all roadway users have a voice.”  

        Click here to read the official press release from Congressman Gallagher.

        Country Roads Take Me Home

        Last weekend Doc D’Errico, MRF Director of State Representatives Program, traveled to Charleston, West Virginia to join bikers in the Mountain State in support of a helmet choice bill. Senate Bill 77, introduced in the West Virginia legislature, would allow adults over 21 years of age with a motorcycle license and two years of experience to choose whether or not they want to wear a helmet.

        Over 100 bikers gathered on the steps of the West Virginia State Capitol to show support for the bill. Lead by ABATE of West Virginia State Director Lanty Hammons, numerous speakers talked about the need for West Virginia to join neighboring states like Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio and allow freedom of choice.  

        Local news outlets covered the event, and you can see their reports by clicking here.

        Thank you to the bikers in West Virginia for including the MRF in their fight and thank you to Doc D’Errico who traveled all the way from Massachusetts to join his fellow riders in this battle!
      • 03/25/2021 11:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        BIKERS INSIDE THE BELTWAY 2021
        FLEXIBLE & MOVING FORWARD

        The pandemic and the events of January 6 brought changes to meetings with members of Congress and large gatherings.  The MRF has restructured Bikers inside the Beltway to comply with pandemic mandates and directives for assemblies.  The 2021 Bikers inside the Beltway will take place in Washington, D.C., May 18.

        “It is our right to address Congress” said MRF President Kirk Willard. “While attendees will need to take a flexible approach to scheduling meetings with their members of Congress, Bikers Inside the Beltway will take place as scheduled.” 

        New security restrictions necessitate that visitors to Congress establish appointments before arriving in D.C. The MRF will provide members with contact information to begin the process of setting your D.C. agenda.

        Flexibility with appointments and expectations is a must. Some congressional offices will welcome in person meetings within the Capitol Complex. Other offices may seek meetings outside the official government buildings. Still others may only do a meeting over the phone or via zoom.

        Bikers inside the Beltway will be dual-faceted to accommodate in-person visits to Congress plus visits to local offices.  

        To ensure that the mission of getting our message to Congress does not fail, here are a few items to consider:

        Once infrastructure funding legislation is assigned a Senate and House number, that information will be shared.

        • Make your appointments locally or in Washington.
        • Familiarize yourself with the briefing points.
        • Confirm your appointment locally or in Washington.
        • Virtual or in person, make notes on your meeting.
        • Share your meeting notes with the MRF.
        Although bill numbers have not been assigned to the infrastructure funding legislation, Congress has classified it as a high priority.  Language that the MRF amended into the 2020 highway funding legislation has not changed.  The MRF’s 2021 High Priority Objectives are on track to be included in the upcoming highway funding legislation.  
         
        A meeting of the MRF Board of Directors will take place on May 17 at the Embassy Suites, 1900 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.  Rooms are available through the hotel direct line 703-684-5900 and use reference code MRF when making reservations.  Hotel cut-off date May 13. Updated Flyer here.

        A pre-event briefing and Q&A for visits to Congress is at 7:00 p.m., May 17, and is required for all attendees.  Briefing packets and “leave behinds” will be available during the briefing.

        Make appointments with your members of Congress, attend the MRF board meeting, briefing session, and Bikers inside the Beltway.  Bikers inside the Beltway 2021 – flexible and moving forward.
      • 03/16/2021 8:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        This week the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) joined other national groups in pushing back on proposed rule changes to current ethanol labeling requirements. Representatives of manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers of boats, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and outdoor power equipment made clear that elimination or changes to current E-15 labels at fuel pumps would cause irreparable harm to millions of consumers.

        In a letter to the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Administrator Michael Regan, the group stated that, “The misfuelling of marine engines and vessels, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and outdoor power equipment places significant burdens on both the American consumer and product manufacturers. The risk to consumers is that they will experience product damage, compromised performance and emissions requirements, economic loss, and fuel leaks resulting in unsafe products.”

        As a reminder, in January the EPA proposed elimination of the current E15 label altogether or the significant changes listed below:

        • Removing the “Attention” stripe along the upper right corner of the label.
        • Removing the phrase “E15” from the label, while including the language “contains up to 15% percent ethanol”.
        • Revising the language “Use only in” to “Safe for use in”.
        • Revising the language “Don’t use in” to “Avoid use in”.
        • Revising the format of the word “prohibited” such that it is not in bold and italicized type.

        The MRF has long advocated consumer education to combat the increased prevalence of E15 nationwide. The letter to EPA points out that a recent survey shows, “Three in five consumers mistakenly assume E15 is safe for all their products.” Additionally, consumers should be aware that many manufacturer warranties are voided if improper fuel is used.

        The MRF thanks the diverse set of partners that have worked together on this issue. Other signatories of the letter include the American Motorcyclist Association, American Sportfishing Association, Boat Owners Association of the United States, Briggs & Stratton, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, Motorcycle Industry Council, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Special Vehicle Institute of America and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association.

        MRF President, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard said, “Whether it be the boat guys, the chainsaw guys or the flying cars guys, the MRF will work with almost anyone when our interests are aligned.”

        To read the full letter to EPA click here.


      • 02/26/2021 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Bridging the Gap

        Last weekend members of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) attended a meeting of the National Council of Clubs in Gulfport, Mississippi. The MRF was invited to the event, entitled “Bridging the Gap,” to discuss opportunities for the motorcycle club community to work in partnership with the MRF on national legislation. The MRF gave two presentations, the first on our 2021 legislative agenda and the second on the outlook for motorcycling going forward.

        The MRF was represented by Kirk “Hardtail” Willard (MRF President), Jay Jackson (MRF Vice President), Fred Harrell (Director of Conference & Events), Todd Riba (MRF Members Representative), Russell Radke (Director of Sustaining Member Motorcycle Clubs) and Rocky Fox (Government Relations). The weekend in Gulfport was the culmination of years of work by the MRF and clubs to find common ground on issues of importance to all motorcyclists. Specifically, Russell Radke should be applauded for his efforts to help foster lines of communication and collaboration between clubs and independents. Russell has spent countless hours spreading the word about the MRF and this weekend was a product of his hard work.

        Thank you to the National Council of Clubs for the invitation to Gulfport and thank you to all those who fight for bikers’ rights nationwide.

        Helping in the States

        As State Capitols around the country become busy with legislative activity numerous motorcycle specific bills are being considered. Recently ABATE of Maryland reached out to the MRF seeking testimony in support of a new helmet choice bill introduced in the Maryland State Senate.

        The MRF submitted both written testimony and testified via Zoom in support of SB 712 - Vehicle Laws- Protective Headgear Requirement for Motorcycle Riders- Exception. MRF Vice President Jay Jackson spent Tuesday afternoon testifying before the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

        We know that many other state motorcyclists’ rights organizations are addressing issues of importance in their state capitals. Whether it be another helmet law, as Nebraska is focused on or changes to ethanol as our friends in Iowa and Indiana are addressing, we at the MRF are committed to supporting the work at the state level. Let us know what you are working on back home so we can share with your fellow riders across the country.

        To read the MRF testimony submitted to the Maryland State Senate click here.

      • 02/12/2021 7:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Mr. Speaker…

        Last month, Sherman “Sherm” Packard was elected Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Sherm has been a state legislator in New Hampshire since 1990 and a long-time champion for motorcyclists. In recognition of his longtime work on behalf of the New Hampshire Motorcyclist Rights Organization and all riders across the country Sherm was inducted into the MRF Hall of Fame in 2018.

        MRF President Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, said “As one of the original motorcyclist rights activists in our movement and a MRF Hall of Famer, Lifetime Achievement honoree and John “Farmer” Eggers award recipient I cannot think of a better individual to represent New Hampshire and all motorcyclists than Sherm.”

        Sherm isn’t heading just any legislative body either, he’s heading one with a massive number of members. The New Hampshire House of Representatives is the largest lower chamber in any statehouse with 400 elected members. It’s also the 4th largest legislative body in the English-speaking world! It falls behind only the House of Commons in the United Kingdom (650 members), the Lok Shabha of India (543 members) and the United States House of Representatives (435 members).

        Jay Jackson, MRF Vice President added, “Sherm Packard was among the first in the motorcyclist rights community to become the ultimate grassroots lobbyist by getting elected to office. Now he has ascended to the highest position in the chamber, Speaker of the House. He is not merely a biker that got elected, he is a highly respected legislative leader that is also a biker. The people of New Hampshire, and motorcyclists nationwide, are truly blessed to have Sherm Packard representing them.”

        Congratulations to Speaker Packard on this fantastic accomplishment!

        New Members and Committees

        With the election of nearly 70 new lawmakers in the Senate and the House, congressional committee membership is directly impacted. Not only are freshman members assigned to new committees, but current members can also jump to new committees. While numerous committees can impact our work in Washington a few specific ones are always at the forefront.

        Below is a list of lawmakers that will be added to these important committees. They will join other elected officials who have previously served on the committees.

        Take a look and see if your Representative or Senator is a new member of these committees.

        House Energy and Commerce Committee – Jurisdiction over issues including autonomous vehicles and ethanol. New Committee Members:

        • Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)
        • Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN)
        • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
        • Rep. John Curtis (R-UT)
        • Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL)
        • Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX)
        • Rep. John Joyce (R-PA)
        • Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
        • Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)
        • Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN)
        • Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY)
        • Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA)
        • Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)

        House Judiciary Committee – Jurisdiction over motorcyclist profiling resolution and potential police reform legislation. New Committee Members:

        • Rep. Cliff Bentz (OR)
        • Rep. Dan Bishop (NC)
        • Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO)
        • Rep. Michelle Fischbach (MN)
        • Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI)
        • Rep. Darrell Issa (CA)
        • Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY)
        • Rep. Thomas Massie (KY)
        • Rep. Burgess Owens (UT)
        • Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC)
        • Rep. Chip Roy (TX)
        • Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN)

        House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee – Jurisdiction over the 2021 highway bill. New Committee Members:

        • Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA)
        • Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA)
        • Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL)
        • Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX)
        • Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA)
        • Rep. Kaiali’l Kahele (D-HI)
        • Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC)
        • Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY)
        • Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)
        • Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL)
        • Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA)
        • Rep. Marilyn Strickland (D-WA)
        • Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX)
        • Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA)

        Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee – Joint jurisdiction over the 2021 Highway bill and jurisdiction over autonomous vehicles. New Committee Members:

        • Sen. John Hickenlooper (D- CO)
        • Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, (D-NM)
        • Sen. Cynthia Lummis, (R-WY)
        • Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

        Senate Environment and Public Works – Joint jurisdiction over the 2021 highway bill and jurisdiction over ethanol issues. New Committee Members:

        • Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
        • Alex Padilla (D-CA)

        Senate Judiciary Committee – Jurisdiction over potential police reform legislation. New Committee Members:

        • Alex Padilla (D-CA)
        • Jon Ossoff (D-GA)


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