When evaluating potential convention sites, FMCA considers many factors. One is whether the locale has laws restricting the sale and display of motorhomes by out-of-state dealers and manufacturers.
Some U.S. states freely allow out-of-state dealers to come in and sell. Some states allow it only if the dealer applies for a permit or special license and pays associated fees.
Other states, meanwhile, require dealers to be licensed and to maintain business facilities in the state, period. This effectively bans out-of-state dealers from conducting face-to-face sales at temporary sales events, such as FMCA conventions.
One thing is certain: If FMCA is to conduct successful international conventions and area rallies, it is vital that out-of-state dealers be allowed to display their products at these events.
“Many FMCA members have established relationships with various dealers through the years,” said Jerry Yeatts, FMCA’s director of conventions and commercial services. “While our members travel around this great country, their loyalty exists with dealers they have known for years.”
Often, these dealer relationships have developed at an FMCA convention, Mr. Yeatts said. “A member may live in the central section of the country, attend a convention in the eastern part of the country, and purchase a coach from a dealer from the northwestern portion of the country that he or she has grown to trust and respect.”
Mr. Yeatts also pointed out that it’s difficult for only local dealers to coordinate convention exhibits the size of which FMCA members are accustomed to seeing. “The inventory required, as well as the sales staff and service personnel, are more than what a local dealer can support,” he said.
Recently, several states have been addressing this topic ….
Wyoming out-of-state dealer permits
The Wyoming state legislature was considering a bill that would grant out-of-state RV dealers the right to purchase temporary RV display and sales permits.
Senate File 0111 would require out-of-state dealers not currently licensed in the state to submit an application and a $500 fee at least 90 days prior to the RV-related event.
The permit would be valid for up to seven consecutive days, and non-Wyoming dealers would be limited to three permits per year.
Additional fees: $50 for two temporary RV demo plates and $5 for 10 temporary permits for issuance to purchasers of RVs at the event.
Prior to consummating a sale with a Wyoming resident, an out-of-state dealer would have to provide written notice to the buyer if there is no manufacturer-authorized service facility in Wyoming.
Senate File 0111 passed a third reading in the Wyoming senate on January 24 and was introduced in the Wyoming house on January 26. The bill is sponsored by the Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim Committee. If it passes the House and is signed by the governor, it would take effect July 1, 2007.
Wisconsin dealer licensing
Non-Wisconsin motorhome dealers would be prohibited from selling vehicles in the state if the department of transportation adopts a proposed rule to amend Ch. Trans. 138.
About 12 people attended a January 18 public hearing regarding the proposal.
Al Talbott, F223128, a member of FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee, was the only person to speak against the rule change at the hearing, which was conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). But WisDOT officials said they had received more than 50 letters against the proposal.
Three others presented testimony at the hearing, Mr. Talbott said: an attorney representing the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association; Tim Wegge, president of Burlington RV Superstore; and Wisconsin State Rep. Robin Vos.
If the new rule is approved, dealers without permanent facilities in the state would be banned from conducting sales, except for those conducted via the Internet, telephone, or other remote methods. Under existing rules, an out-of-state dealer may apply for an exemption from Wisconsin’s business facility requirement.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, from October 1, 2003, to September 30, 2005, nine out-of-state dealers received approvals to conduct sales at temporary locations. All approvals have expired.
The official comment period for the proposed rule expired January 18. WisDOT will consider all the information and consult with Frank Busalacchi, WisDOT Secretary, Mr. Talbott said. “The final rule change will have to be submitted to a joint legislative committee.”
According to Mr. Talbott, the rule would affect auto, truck, motorcycle, and motorhome dealers. “Therefore, any change may have to consider them all.”
Gene and Rose Huhndorf, F50813, members of FMCA’s Badger chapter, also attended the hearing. They had encouraged their chapter’s members to submit letters opposing the rule.
Max Durbin, chairman of FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Advisory Committee, commended FMCA members in Wisconsin for their letter-writing campaign. “The battle is not over yet,” he added.
Oklahoma RV shows
The Oklahoma legislature is considering a new law that establishes guidelines for sanctioned RV shows.
According to House Bill 1590, a sanctioned RV show is an off-premise sales event where 67 percent of the RV dealers within a 60-mile radius of the show location either participate in the show or authorize the existence of the show.
Participating dealers must buy a $200 permit from the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission. The permit is valid for up to 10 straight days.
The bill was referred to the General Government and Transportation Committee on February 6.
Ontario motorhome length
As part of a national agreement, Ontario, Canada, is allowing longer motorhomes on its highways. A $50 permit, good for three years, is required.
The province is issuing Special Vehicle Configuration Permits for the continued use of three-axle motorhomes between 41 feet and 45 feet 11 inches (12.5 meters to 14 meters).
Motorhome owners and dealers must complete an application for each motorhome and pay a $50 fee (Canadian funds) for each permit, which will be valid until January 1, 2010.
Two-axle motorhomes longer than 41 feet are prohibited on Ontario highways and do not qualify for special permits.
Motorhomes 41 feet and longer must have at least three axles and the special permit.
Motorhomes less than 41 feet long do not require special permits, regardless of the number of axles.
Overall length includes items such as ladders and extensions, but does not include mirrors that extend beyond the front of the motorhome.
Bill Cann, of the Ministry of Transportation’s Carrier Safety Policy Office, said the permit is a temporary measure. The three-year validity period is granted to give Ontario time to change the law to allow these vehicles without a permit.
Valid U.S. driver’s licenses are legal in Ontario, Mr. Cann said.
For more information about qualifying and applying for permits, contact: Ontario Ministry of Transportation, O/O Permits 3rd Floor, 301 St. Paul St., St. Catharines, ON, Canada L2R 7R4; (416) 246-7166, ext. 6306. E-mail: OO.Permit.Department@Ontario.ca.
Prince George, British Columbia, overnight parking
We want you, RV travelers. That’s the message inherent in a ruling by the city of Prince George, British Columbia.
In early December 2006, city council enacted a bylaw that allows RVs to be parked on retail lots for up to 36 hours.
RV owners may legally park, sleep, and shop while staying a night or two at shopping centers and other retail lots that allow it.
For RVers, the bylaw caps a welcome turn of events. Last spring RVers voiced their concerns after city council adopted a motion effectively banning overnight stays. A few weeks later it voted to reconsider the issue.
For several years, local RV park owners had been claiming they were losing business to retailers who permitted free overnight parking, in violation of an old city bylaw.
To placate the park owners, council in April 2006 approved a recommendation to fine retailers who allowed RVs to stay overnight on their lots. Wal-Mart started posting signs instructing people to report violators to city officials.
No businesses were cited by the city over the complaint-driven bylaw. Nevertheless, an outcry from RVers across North America prompted city council to rescind its original motion and seek an alternative bylaw.
Council had considered limiting RVers’ stays to between 12 and 24 hours but opted for the longer, 36-hour limit.
“RV Friendly” signage
Georgia and New Hampshire are the latest states to introduce “RV Friendly” legislation.
Georgia Senate Bill 87 and New Hampshire House Bill 418 were pending in committees in February.
If approved, the bills would allow businesses and tourist attractions to have the “RV Friendly” marker affixed to their logos on highway exit signs. The “RV Friendly” symbol signifies that a facility is capable of accommodating RVs and has met Federal Highway Administration (FHA) guidelines to that effect.
“The RV Friendly symbol instantly conveys that a location is safe to enter, has room to park the largest legal RV, and is safe to exit,” said Frank Brodersen, F289730, RV Friendly coordinator for FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Advisory Committee.
In September 2005 the FHA issued interim approval for use of the “RV Friendly” program throughout the United States. Oregon, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Michigan, and Iowa have adopted it for use in their states.
“Each state controls its own logo signage program,” Mr. Brodersen said. “To establish rules and requirements can take up to a year after any legislation or administrative approval is passed.”
Driver’s license requirements
Some U.S. states require a license endorsement, or a different class of license altogether, for motorhomes that exceed a certain length or weight. For example ….
In New York, if your motorhome is longer than 40 feet or has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 pounds, you must have a personal use vehicle endorsement “” referred to as “Recreational Vehicle” or “R” endorsement “” on your standard Class D operators license.
Periodically, FMCA members contact the Governmental and Legislative Advisory Committee regarding changes in, or confusion over, license requirements in their state. When in doubt, it is best to contact the state police, highway patrol, department of public safety, or department of motor vehicles in your state.
Santa Paula, California, RV parking
Santa Paula City Council, at its January 2 meeting, voted to appoint a citizens committee to review existing RV parking regulations and the visual impact of RVs in residential neighborhoods.
The RV parking issue surfaced after the city received complaints about protracted RV parking in residential areas. The police then began a crackdown.
FMCA member Gerald Olivas, F193702, a Santa Paula resident, agreed to serve on the committee, although official appointments were not made at the meeting.
City council has discussed banning RV parking in front yards, including driveways, except for a 48-hour period.
Council considered allowing RV parking in the side or rear yards of residential lots, subject to these restrictions:
1. A maximum of one RV would be permitted on a residential property.
2. The vehicle could not exceed a height of 96 inches or a length of 32 feet.
3. The vehicle must maintain a minimum setback of 20 feet from the front property line and 3 feet from the side and rear property lines.
Council requested committee input by the end of March, Mr. Olivas told FMCA.
Legislative Updates is a periodic column compiled by FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee “” Max Durbin, chairman “” and Todd Moning, FMCA.com Web editor. Contact the committee through FMCA’s Membership Department, (800) 543-3622; e-mail email@example.com. Remember to visit our Web site for regular updates: www.fmca.com/motorhomerights.