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U.S. Senate panel backs ban on traffic safety agency lobbying

A U.S. Senate committee has approved two amendments to a traffic safety bill that would continue a ban on a U.S. traffic safety agency lobbying state and local officials, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

On Dec. 14, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved S. 1449 -- the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011 -- including two amendments offered by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). The DeMint amendments deleted language in the bill that would have allowed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to lobby state and local officials.

The committee didn't take up a proposed amendment that was to be offered by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) that would have drastically altered the existing motorcyclist safety grant program by indirectly pressuring states to pass mandatory helmet laws.

The measure now goes to the Senate floor for a vote. It's unknown when that may take place.

"This is good news for motorcyclists nationwide because it means that federal officials won't be trying to influence local decisions when it comes to motorcycle safety and motorcycle safety-related programs," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations.

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