LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — UPDATE (2/17)
The representative who filed a bill on Wednesday. seeking to change the definition of what qualifies for "antique car" tags and registration, said he has since pulled the bill. According to the Arkansas State Legislature website, the bill was withdrawn by its author just before 10:30 AM.
In a statement sent to KATV, State Representative Jack Fortner (R-District 99) said:
"My reason for pulling the bill was because the majority of the citizens of Arkansas who contacted me were opposed. I believe any bill, either mine or someone else's, should not pass if the majority of the people express an opinion against it. I was asked to run the bill by a group of car enthusiasts and I personally believed it was a good bill. But regardless of my personal feelings, I must go with the will of the people."
ORIGINAL STORY (2/15)
A bill filed in the state legislature on Wednesday aims to redefine what the state considers an "antique car" - at least when it comes to the purpose of registration.
State Representative Jack Fortner (R-District 99), filed House Bill 1547, seeking to amend the state's current laws concerning antique motor vehicle specialty license plates. Fortner said he's passionate about the bill as a self-proclaimed "car guy".
"I have 14 vintage cars right now," said Rep. Fortner. "I have six of them running and six with vintage tags."
But Fortner said what state law currently says qualifies as a vintage, classic or antique car - doesn't necessarily mesh with his definition of what the antique car should be.
"There are some special interest cars from the 90s, but there are no historic cars from the 90s," said Fortner.
Any car that's 25 years-old or older currently qualifies for antique license plates, requiring a one-time seven dollar registration fee. Provisions in the current law also require antique tag holders to simultaneously own and register another vehicle that should be used as their primary mode of transportation. Fortner believes there are many people who simply register an old vehicle to only have to pay to register the vehicle once, without following the second car provision.
Rep. Fortner's bill seeks to extend the age range of what qualifies as an "antique car" from 25 years to 45 years. Fortner admits his bill would likely generate more revenue for the state in the form of increased vehicle registrations, but he said that's not what his bill targets. Rather Fortner says HB 1547 intends honor the intent of the original bill, which he said was to honor the car collector and hobbyist.
If the bill were to pass, Sherwood resident Ken Keplinger's 1981 Delorean wouldn't be considered an antique - at least not for another nine years.
"Oh it's a classic," argued Keplinger. "And it's an antique car."
Lucky for Keplinger, he already has antique tags on his 36 year-old car. HB 1547 would grandfather anyone who currently has tags, but would force others who don't with cars younger than 45 years-old, to register them like an everyday vehicle until they reach the newly proposed age limit. Keplinger believes if the bill passes, it will have a significant impact on the future of car collecting.
"The old guys like me, we can afford that," said Keplinger. "But the younger guys coming up you know, if you have to put food on the table and you have to provide for your wife and your children and all that, you normally don't have a whole bunch of money left over."
Fortner said according to the Department of Finance and Administration there are 153,000 antique car tags currently in circulation; if HB 1547 were to pass, 66,000 of those cars that currently are considered antiques wouldn't be considered antique under the new law. Again however, those 66,000 vehicles will be grandfathered into the law.