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Illinois legislative session up, running

November 24, 2010
Lobbyists for the CATA worked to introduce six bills in the Illinois General Assembly in February. The bills range from a proposal to reduce from $65 to $13 the cost to dealers to obtain a vehicle title to the umpteenth introduction of legislation to amend the way leased vehicles are taxed. 
All 137 fees imposed by the Illinois secretary of state's office increased Jan. 1, 2000, to help fund Gov. George Ryan's statewide infrastructure initiative, Illinois FIRST. Among the increases, new title fees jumped fivefold, from $13 to $65. 
A new bill, Senate Bill 1852, would restore the original title fee for licensed new- and used-car dealers only. Duplicate and corrected titles would remain at $65. 
Another bill expands the list of components on a new vehicle which can be repaired without triggering damage disclosure. Dealers must disclose new-vehicle damage when the cost to repair the damage exceeds 6 percent of MSRP. 
Damage to glass, tires, bumpers and in-dash audio equipment can be replaced with OEM equipment without triggering disclosure. Senate Bill 1851 adds video and telephonic elements to that list. 
House Bill 4353 would make it illegal for anyone to install or reinstall in a vehicle any object in lieu of an air bag which is designed specifically for the make, model and year of that vehicle, according to federal safety regulations. 
House Bill 4975 would shift insurance liability on loaner vehicles to make the driver's insurance primary, not the dealer's. The dealer's insurance still would be primary on test-drive vehicles. A test-drive vehicle, as defined in the bill, is driven by a customer for less than 12 hours, with the dealer's permission. 
A similar bill advanced from the General Assembly in 1999, but Gov. Ryan vetoed the bill after lobbyists for the state's trial lawyers assailed the measure. 
Senate Bill 2157 would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to permit vehicles which weigh up to 8,000 pounds and which are not used for commercial purposes to display passenger plates. 
If passed, the new law would help efforts in Chicago to allow pickup trucks on the city's Lake Shore Drive and other boulevards that currently prohibit B plates. 
State senators get the initial chance this spring to mull legislation to revamp leased-vehicle taxes. Senate Bill 1853, which in previous incarnations died on the vine or came under gubernatorial veto, is back. 
Lessees now pay a lump tax, at lease inception, based on the vehicle's sale price. The bill proposes that taxes instead be based on the monthly payments and spread over the life of the lease. 
Representatives of the CATA's lobbying firm, Roger C. Marquardt & Co., Inc., cautioned that it is unlikely legislators would advance "revenue-reducing bills" this session, given the budget deficits facing lawmakers.