This Session started off like so many others with big priority issues like the state gambling pact, water resources, education and medical marijuana. But unlike other Sessions, where lobbyists hover on the 4th floor of the Capitol on the last day awaiting final action on their bills, the House Speaker dropped the gavel three days early leaving hundreds of bills dead in the wake. FADA and our lobbying team, as well as our partners, Braman Management and AutoNation, could only watch in amazement as SB 1048, the 2015 franchise bill went down in flames!
This was an intense Session for FADA because our original plan was not to push for another franchise bill this year and to work on some dealer licensing issues; problems facing dealers when cars are stolen, towed and then offered for public sale; citations for dealer license plates; and issues surrounding DOR and taxation of paint and fabric products.
Things changed rapidly in January with the introduction of a franchise bill composed and launched by Braman Management in Miami. Your Board of Directors met with the Braman team in January and decided to sign on to this aggressive campaign to seek some revisions to our franchise laws in the areas of exports, facility incentives, venue for dealer cases before DMV, local buying options when dealers build or renovate, loaner car liability protection and important revisions to look-back periods for manufacturer audits of sales incentives and exports.
FADA joined the Braman and AutoNation team and worked the halls of the legislature after revising and prioritizing some of the major components in the bill. FADA Chairman Ted Serbousek took the lead and conducted negotiations with the manufacturers and others with the help of Legislative Chairman Compton Cramer, Chairman-Elect Jonathan Chariff and the FADA Executive Committee.
Opponents to the passage of this franchise bill were JM Family, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, GM, Chrysler, VW, and the Global Automakers Association.
But after hundreds of hours of work SB 1048 became a casualty of this legislative session when the gavel was dropped early.
FADA dropped the dealer licensing revisions that were planned but worked with a host of factory reps to create sales tax exemptions for electric, natural gas and hydrogen vehicles. This early effort was tabled by the sponsor.
Other measures that were swept up and failed by the early checkout of the House were our efforts to pass reform language requiring towing companies to ensure that any vehicles they were holding for public sale were not stolen, as well as our amendment to pre-empt a troublesome DMV rule requiring disclosure of all titling and registration options.
We wish to thank the many dealers who came to our Mike Maher Day on the Hill to launch our efforts and those of you who responded to our calls for action and requests for support and financial assistance.