The ongoing battle between Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA] Motors and Car Dealer Associations keen to stop Tesla from selling its cars directly to buyers got a whole lot more underhanded today when news broke that the Ohio Dealers Association have discovered a new, sneaky way of trying to get anti-Tesla laws passed: add a few lines of extra text to a completely unrelated bill that will get voted on in a few hours’ time.
Amending popular bills to include completely unrelated, but unpopular legislation isn’t exactly new. Legislators at both a local level and a national level have been pulling that exact trick for years, often to the fury of one group or other of citizens. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the exact same practice used to pass anti-abortion provisions into law, to change gun control, and even to try and repeal healthcare reform. But just because it’s common doesn’t make the practice any more savoury.
Enter Ohio Senate Bill 137 — a particularly benign bill which aims to improve the safety of the men and women who maintain the state’s roads. It calls for legislation which requires Ohio drivers to move left a lane when encountering maintenance vehicles at the side of the road, essentially leaving an empty lane between them and any workers.
As GreenCarReports explains however, the latest amendment to bill 137 puts the following clause into the body of the bill.
517.12 Denial of license as motor vehicle dealer, motor vehicle leasing dealer, manufactured home broker, or motor vehicle auction owner.
(A) The registrar of motor vehicles shall deny the application of any person for a license as a motor vehicle dealer, motor vehicle leasing dealer, or motor vehicle auction owner and refuse to issue the license if the registrar finds that the applicant:
(11) Is a manufacturer or a subsidiary, parent, or affiliated entity of a manufacturer. applying for a license to sell or lease new or used vehicles at retail. Nothing in this division shall prohibit a manufacturer from disposing of vehicles at wholesale at the termination of a consumer lease through a motor vehicle auction. This division shall not serve as a basis for termination, revocation, or non-renewal of a license granted prior to the effective date of this provision.
Given that Tesla is the only automaker who sells directly to consumers, this bill is clearly targeting Tesla, and if passed, would require Tesla to use independently-owned third-party dealerships to sell in the state of Ohio.
The anti-Tesla amendment, that was due to be heard tomorrow, but has been moved forward at the last minute, will be heard in less than an hour at the Ohio Senate. In a letter sent to Ohio Tesla fans and drivers yesterday, Tesla encouraged those who could to attend the hearing, giving December 4 as the hearing date. Given the hearing has now been moved forward by a day, many Tesla fans are now suspicious that the Senate is trying to push the bill through before Tesla has time to mobilise its fan base.
We’ll be covering this story as it develops, so be sure to keep checking TransportEvolved.com, and follow us on Twitter, for the latest news.
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