Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law a bill that prohibits auto companies such as Tesla from selling directly to consumers.

House Bill 401, authored by state Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, prevents automakers from owning any stake in a brick and mortar dealership and instead requiring franchisees to sell cars to consumers.

The Republican governor, who’ll be running for reelection this fall against Democratic Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, said on Facebook that he signed the bill to restore the state’s auto dealer franchise law as it had been interpreted for the last 50 years.
“Almost 200 small businesses in communities across our state are seeking assurances that big manufacturers can’t just destroy their businesses,” Reeves said. “That’s fair! I am committed to find long-term solutions – in an ever changing market. I look forward to working with all parties going forward to do just that.”
The bill won’t affect Tesla’s lone location in the state located in Brandon, near Jackson, since it is considered a retail store and the company sells its cars online. But the electric car manufacturer won’t be able to open any other stores in the state once the law takes effect on July 1.

Reeves has been strongly supported by the political action committee run by the Mississippi Auto Dealers Association, which contributed more than $111,500 to races in 2019. Reeves’ campaign picked up $5,000 in 2017, $6,000 in 2018 and $20,000 in 2019.

The bill passed 105-9 in the House on Jan. 12 and 39-13 in the Senate on March 2.

State Rep. Dana Criswell, R-Olive Branch, called it on Twitter “Protectionism at your expense.” READ MORE