We got the news today that ABATE of Kentucky has gotten their version of a helmet law modification bill through the Kentucky legislature, and are claiming to be knocking at the door of "Freedom" from their helmet law. We think this particular brand of "Freedom" is not unlike the modern day use of the word "Brotherhood" -- more of a distant memory than today's reality.
In any case, below is the most convoluted explanation of ball-less negotiation for helmet law repeal legislation imaginable -- the "it's the best we could get" excuse of the decade:
We would not use the word "promising."
"HB 106 passed the Senate on 2-24-98 by a vote of 35-3 today and is on its way to the Governor. He has until March 10th to do something with it and it looks very promising that it will become law.
First, let us make it perfectly clear we do not believe you. Where and when was the helmet fire?
Who told you "in no uncertain terms"?
"Now to address our insurance amendment. First off I wish to make perfectly clear that we do not like this amendment and did all we could do to kill it so far without killing the whole bill. We will not retreat from the ground we have already gained. We were told in no uncertain terms that if our bill changed in any way and it went back to the House it would be killed. With many of friends especially in the Senate retiring or running for other offices we would not know if this window of opportunity would present itself again. We had to take it now or face another 30yrs of helmet law and there's nothing to say they wouldn't attach the same amendment or worse the next time around. Now we can battle from ground already taken and move forward.
Let's see if we've got this: "They" are going to have the headaches . . . and "they" will stop? You know, if you had put a little of that optimism into your chances of a repeal bill, maybe you wouldn't have to lay out all these excuses.
"What is in the amendment? First off there is no dollar amount. If you have $.01 worth of coverage you meet the requirements. This can be an HMO, VA card, Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, PIP or hospitalization on your bike insurance policy etc. There are a lot of logistical questions that still need to be answered the same as was in Texas. The KYDOT and some of the individual cops are already saying that it is unenforceable. If it does stay, they may try to enforce it for a while but after a few headaches on their part they will stop.
With all these friends on committees who wil intentionally "muddy the waters" on this legislation, why didn't you find some to work out a repeal? We don't believe you have what you say you have.
Why do you yeild to "their" pressure now and minimize it later -- "they" don't have to figure out logistics, bikers do.
"What options do we have? First off we are not done this session yet with this amendment. What most people don't know is how the system works in KY (including some of the legislators). The last bill that passes in the session on an issue takes precedence. What we can do is attach an amendment to kill the health insurance amendment on to another bill that looks as if it will pass. There are several we are considering already, but we must wait until HB 106 is through the Governor. We will have nearly a month left and the bulk of the legislation. So we are not done yet fighting this thing now. Second, a ton of administrative regulations have to be written for this to take effect. We have some friends on the committees that oversee that process. We will ask them to basically muddy up the waters so bad they can't enforce it. Third we challenge the constitutionality of it in the courts. While I know the courts can be unpredictable so can the legislature. A bonus we think we can get the age requirement either dropped to 18 or thrown out as age discrimination. With the exception of liquor law KY does not specify the difference in being an adult between 18 and 21. Note, in KY you can challenge only part of a law without killing the whole statute. Last but least we come back in the next session or during a special session and mount the fight to repel it then. By then I imagine the cops, clerks, KYDOT and insurance companies will have had enough of trying to figure out the logistics.
With all due respect (not much), Jay, don't even try to equate what you are doing with the success of AMA and MRF in getting ISTEA repealed. You're not even in the same ball park, much less playing the same game. The audacity of such a suggestion tells us a lot about why this bill was presented in the first place . . . loyal to the end to NOCM (AIM/Lester) are you? Where else could you learn such double-speak? --q
"As I said before we do not like and do not support this amendment but it was not the right time to fight it. People say that it will lead to amendments in their states. Personally I believe those would happen anyhow. Look at the Tort bill in Ohio and others before anything happened in Texas or KY. Chicago trying to ban motorcycles on its streets and other such legislation. We are not saying that the states that compromised on age requirements, education requirements, daytime headlights etc. caused this to happen. So why are some organizations now bashing KY, Texas, Fla., California and others. Why don't we say that the states that have those, gave up and we now suffer the consequences. I DO NOT and will not make those assertions and only say them to prove a point. In politics we have to sometimes make the best deal we can and then come back later. We did it on the national level with getting the level of penalties reduced in ISTEA until we could come back in 1995 and get them repealed retroactively. This fight is not over just the battlefield is changing."
The fight? Did he say the "fight"?
Excuse us, but this looks more like the terms of surrender than any fight we've ever been to -- and against a 35-3 vote? Why did they do that? Are they going to try to tell us that they are so weak that they could not have held a majority without dropping to their knees, begging for pity? (Same as with Arkansas and their 21-year-old modification last year. They, too, had a 10 to 1 margin on their vote, which says they compromised a lot more than they had to.)
Where is all this coming from? It ain't HLDL pushing for these compromises, or MRF or AMA. Could it be that NCOM sees a future in such legislation? We do know, for example, that the "Son of Lester," little Joe Lester, showed up in Concord, California at their ABATE Local #15 meeting this month, speaking for NCOM and telling the members present that they should support the insurance modification amendment in California. Is all this coming from AIM/NCOM/Lester? And if so, what have they ever done for the biker community that we would allow them to do this to the community?
I suggest that all bikers take a look around at what's being done to us/them. I think perhaps it may be time to re-evaluate our confidence in some of the so-called "leaders" of the motorcycling rights community.
As for me, personally; I'm trying to find an application for the AMA. --q