State Legislative Bill Introduction in Overdrive
Numerous mechanical and collision bills offered for 2013.
With 2012 pre-filed state legislation and the bills introduced to date, independent automobile repairers are on track for the busiest state legislative sessions in memory. Although thousands of bills are introduced around the country each year, only a limited number of these affect independent repair shops. Already for 2013, we have surpassed 2011 and 2012 in bills that have some degree of impact on repairers. Some of these have a negative bearing on repairers, others positive. This article hopes to give a snapshot of both mechanical and collision state legislation in play to date.
One of the hottest mechanical areas again is the periodic motor vehicle safety inspection issue. Repairers in Missouri, which has one of the best state safety inspection programs in the nation, constantly have to defend their law. Their program was compromised earlier when it was forced by the legislature to move to a biennial inspection. Now some policymakers are pushing for triennial inspections in Missouri Senate Bill 136.
The Automotive Service Association encourages Missouri repairers to go to ASA’s legislative website, www.Taking theHill.com, and send a letter to their Missouri legislator in opposition to triennial inspections.
Other states also have safety inspection legislation already introduced, including Hawaii, Texas and Mississippi.
State emissions plans conÂtinue to evolve, including emissions inspection programs. The introduction of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 332, which includes a 10-year emissions inspection exemption for new vehicles, is an example of legislation that goes too far.
Collision repairers are witnessing a significant increase in state legislation introductions. Part of this activity stems from the numerous salvage and title-related legislation in multiple states. Repairers have been faced in the past with numerous bills similar to last year’s Ohio Senate Bill 273 that opens salvage pool purchases to a large number of categories of purchasers. There are other salvage- and titling-related bills already in play for this session in states such as Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas and Vermont.
In New York, Assemblyman Matthew Titone has introduced Assembly Bill 3872, which requires consumer disclosure and written consent for the use of replacement crash parts.
Oklahoma legislation appears to go the most distance in the area of parts disclosure and consent with the introduction of Senate Bill 1051. In addition, the bill requires written consent by the vehicle owner. This bill hits both collision and mechanical parts. The Use of Aftermarket Emissions and Safety Parts Notice and Consent Act requires disclosure when any use is proposed of an aftermarket crash part; and requires that the manufacturers of such aftermarket crash parts be identified.
Since the mid-1990s, notice and written consent legislation related to replacement crash parts has been relatively common, with several states adopting similar provisions. The Oklahoma legislation highlights efforts to now include emissions and safety-related parts in notice and written consent parts legislation.
Oklahoma Senate Bill 1051 emissions parts provisions include: “Emissions part” means a replacement of parts or systems related to the control, monitoring and release of waste gases and particles created as a byproduct of combustion including, but not limited to, oxygen sensors, catalytic converters, exhaust pipes, exhaust manifold, fuel distributor, electronic control unit (ECU) or computer, onboard emissions diagnostic (OBD) device or computer, and related parts and components;
“Aftermarket emissions part” means emissions parts not made for or by the manufacturer of the motor vehicle;
With regard to safety parts, SB 1051 states:
“Safety part” means a replacement of parts or systems essential to vehicle operation, suspension, ECU, brake parts, safety systems and supplemental restraint system (SRS) components; and
“Aftermarket safety part” means safety parts not made for or by the manufacturer of the motor vehicle.
The addition of these new mechanical-related areas for notice and written consent requirements is important subject matter for mechanical repairers as this type legislation is considered in Oklahoma and other parts of the country.
As the U.S. Congress kicks off the 113th Congress, it is anticipated that independent repairers will see additional automotive parts legislation. Patent reform specifically tied to automotive parts has been a regular menu item for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in the last few congresses. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation secretary slot will have to be filled in the administration. The choice could impact aftermarket policy as well as how the administration views state safety inspection programs.
It is important for ASA members to regularly review ASA’s legislative and regulatory tracking information on the ASA legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com. In addition to legislative and regulatory information, repairers will have an opportunity to participate in advocacy efforts on specific legislation and regulations.
Assuring our members are informed and keeping policymakers educated about what’s important to independent automotive repairers is a key mission for ASA.
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