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By DAVID DAHL
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 16, 2000
Q: If my birthday is before July 1, will I still be required to have an emissions test to register my car in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties?
A: Yes, according to Dwight Davis of the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. For now, county tax collector offices are still sending out registration renewal notices that say emissions tests are required by law. However, Davis said, anybody who wants to run the risk of getting a ticket for a late tag could let his or her renewal slide until the emissions tests are no longer a legal requirement.
Q: Will police officers begin pulling over smoky junkers?
A: State law still prohibits any vehicle from producing "visible emissions" for more than 5 seconds at a time, Davis said. Officers could pass out tickets to violators, but, Davis said, "my impression is that's a low priority for most law enforcement agencies."
Q: Will the state continue to pay testing contractors after July 1?
A: No. The contracts for both companies expire. State officials made arrangements last year to renew the contracts with a new program that required testing every other year instead of annually, but the Legislature's vote this month to end the program has voided those arrangements.
Q: Is there any chance Gov. Jeb Bush will veto the bill ending emissions tests statewide? How can I contact him?
A: Although he generally supports ending emissions testing, Bush has not signed CS/SB 772. Press secretary Liz Hirst said Monday that Bush "is really going to have to review the final bill closely to determine what his ultimate position will be." You can write to Gov. Bush at The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call his staff at (850) 488-4441. His fax number is (850) 487-0801.
Q: How many other states have emissions tests?
A: There are 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, with some form of emissions testing, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only one other state with a testing program has decided to end it: Minnesota, which unlike Florida obtained permission from the EPA first. Minnesota lawmakers voted last year to end the program, and it will conclude this summer.
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