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Legislation to Lift Ban on Tesla Sales in Maryland - Hearing on Feb. 19, 2015

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Lanny, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. Lanny

    Lanny @Lanny

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    The feature story on the front page of the Baltimore Sun is, “Legislation could open the door for Tesla to sell its cars in Maryland.”

    Delegate Kirill Reznik from Germantown, MD introduced HB235 which would essentially make an exemption on the ban on direct sales of Teslas in Maryland. HB235 would authorize a manufacturer to be licensed as a vehicle dealer if the manufacturer deals only in electric or non fossil-fuel burning vehicles and if no dealer in the State holds a franchise.

    There will be a hearing on HB235 in the House Environment and Transportation Committee at 1:00 on February 19, 2015. I may go. Anyone want to join me in Annapolis next Thursday?

    Lanny
     
  2. delanman

    delanman Member

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    Nice article. Good photos to go along with the story.
     
  3. boberd

    boberd New Member

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    I'm going to do my best to make it to the hearing.

    Bob
     
  4. andrewket

    andrewket 2014 S P85DL, 2016 X P90DL (soon 100)

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    I'm a Virginia resident but will try to make the hearing. Anyone else from NoVA want to caravan?
     
  5. Lanny

    Lanny @Lanny

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    Maryland is one of the few states that actually prevents Tesla from selling. Even though there is a Gallery in Montgomery Mall, the employees there cannot even quote the price. Thursday afternoon is our one chance to be heard. If this bill fails to pass the committee, it probably won’t come up again for at least another year, well after the introduction of the Model X.

    The Dealer’s Associations and other powerful special interests that may oppose Tesla will certainly be there. Who will be there to support Tesla, if not us?

    Let's plan to arrive in Annapolis and park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at noon. This is the best bet for public parking and a shuttle runs every 10 minutes. Enter the stadium lot through Gate 5 off of Taylor Ave. It costs $5.00 to park and $2.00 for the shuttle.

    Arriving at noon should give us enough time to get on the shuttle to the House Office Building, get through security, find the hearing room and sign in. If you plan to speak, you must sign the sheet by 12:45. If you have written testimony, bring 40 copies for distribution to the committee. Here are some tips for attending a committee hearing.

    The hearing begins at 1:00. They could switch up the order of bills so it is hard to tell when we will be done, but in any event, the hearing is scheduled to end by 3:00.

    Lanny
     
  6. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

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    I'd be more motivated if I'd had a problem buying a Tesla in Maryland. I would perhaps show up, or write some letters, if test drives were prohibited here, but the current situation does not significantly interfere with sales in MD, and I would think Tesla could better focus on states where test drives are prohibited.
     
  7. jcadman22

    jcadman22 MD: DRK NRG

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    This is by no stretch of the imagination a slam dunk and I plan to be in Annapolis on Thursday to support Tesla Motors. While we may be able to take test drives and order cars online there's still room for improvement. At best the current situation is confusing for consumers and frustrating for Tesla employees. Please reach out to your representatives and join us in Annapolis on Thursday to show your support for this bill and help pave the way for better car sales in Maryland.
     
  8. Firewired

    Firewired Member

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    Being in Texas, I am envious of the ability to take a test drive. I went to the recent event they had in Austin. I agree it is important for as many to show up as can and show support for Tesla and not rest on the status quo. The auto dealers will not stop continuing trying rollback any gains, or sneak in some last minute late night bill to explicitly outlaw Tesla selling cars. The only way around it is to continue to show up and support until Tesla is "explicitly" legal under the state law.
     
  9. Lanny

    Lanny @Lanny

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    #9 Lanny, Feb 20, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Update on Maryland House Bill 235

    On Thursday, boberd, jcadman22 and I went to Annapolis to support the legislation. andrewket was all set to go too, but we learned that because he isn’t a Maryland resident, his testimony might not have been as useful.

    Jeff and Bob both wrote letters to the committee and Bob and I gave brief statements supporting the bill.

    A Deputy Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters also testified in support of the bill.

    The Maryland Automobile Dealers Association have agreed to allow a limited number of Tesla dealerships, up to six. The President of the Maryland Dealers Association testified in support of the bill with amendments.

    General Motors are opposed to the bill. No other manufacturer, organization or person opposes the bill, only GM. They want to limit Tesla to the two facilities that they now have in Maryland, the Gallery in Montgomery Mall and the Service Center in Rockville. You can watch the testimony from GM starting at 36:30 on the video.

     
  10. SebastianR

    SebastianR Member

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    Wow, that's painful to listen to. The GM guy is so slimy - and not ashamed of lying ("EV 1 didn't fail because of us, it failed because of the market"). If I get him right, his argument boils down to: we feel forced to go through dealers, so Tesla should be forced to go through dealers, too.
     
  11. aarontayto

    aarontayto Member

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    As a non-US resident can I ask why on earth (and how??) any state has banned tesla from selling their product?!? Sounds more like China than USA.. Odd?
     
  12. Firewired

    Firewired Member

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    Over the years car dealerships have been able to encourage legislation that protects their interests and precludes car manufacturers from selling directly to the public. They have enacted a monopoly on the way cars are sold.
     
  13. aarontayto

    aarontayto Member

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    That is actually crazy.
     
  14. Firewired

    Firewired Member

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    Worse is that they try to portray serving their self interests as somehow serving and protecting the public.
     
  15. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    It didn't start out crazy. There was a legitimate intended purpose, but that was a long time ago. The world has changed, but sometimes the rules/legislation/laws, or people don't keep up with those changes and sometimes people are self-serving. The dealerships have it pretty good, there's no reason for them to want to rethink and restructure their business model. It's an interesting time we are living in.
     
  16. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    It's a perfect example of why legislatures should stop passing so many laws. There are ALWAYS unintended consequences of any law. And times and situations do change. In this particular case, it was a simple business dispute between one business (car dealers) and another (car manufacturers). The manufacturers didn't like the way dealers were selling their product and wanted to experiment with selling direct.

    The dealers bribed, I mean sought redress, from legislatures, and laws were passed to prevent direct sales. Those laws should never have been passed in the first place. The dealers could have fought a PR war, they could have cleaned up their act, they even could have negotiated a clean exit from their business with the manufacturers. They had many options, but they chose to bribe instead.

    Sad that the political culture is such that passing laws like this are considered OK and normal.
     
  17. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    To build on Kruggerand's reply, states may regulate commerce to ensure the public health and safety. For example, Massachusetts requires that new car dealers have service centers, trained staff, and so forth to ensure that cars sold can also be serviced.

    Dealers managed to get restrictions on manufacturers' direct sales on two (specious) grounds:

    First, that manufacturers may go out of business, while the dealership will still be around to service cars. Yes, this is a bizarre a scenario as it sounds (where do they get parts?), but it's also patently not true when one looks at the fallout from Fisker.

    Second, that manufacturers won't look out for consumers' interests, but independent dealers will. Again, this is an odd argument; what manufacturer wants customers to have a bad experience with their product? Moreover, notice that the GM dealers were not advocates for their customers in the ignition-switch debacle. It took direct consumer action to get GM to do something, and the dealers have been slow to do the needed retrofits.

    In fact, these 'reasons' are mere excuses to reduce competition in the car dealer business and to protect established franchises. Car dealers are generous contributors to political campaigns, employ a lot of people in sales and service, and a large fraction of state's sales tax revenues flow through their accounts. The dealers like to raise the canard that all these jobs and taxes will disappear if the dealers aren't protected. Obviously, no: Tesla hires staff for its galleries, stores, and service centers, and the state receives the sales tax for every Tesla vehicle sold. What's the one thing Tesla doesn't do? Contribute money to state politicians' campaigns.
     
  18. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Just another lying lawyer, and I regret saying that as my son is an attorney (actually an Assistant Attorney General in Maryland and starting next month a Supreme Court Fellow -- proud father:)) But some attorneys I regret to note will say anything, including lies, to protect the self-interest of clients. Do they teach ethics in law schools? Apparently very little, or if they do, it's in one ear and out the other for far too many law students.
     
  19. Lanny

    Lanny @Lanny

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    Yes, it is upsetting to watch GM’s lawyers fight this when Tesla, the Maryland Dealers Assoc. and the bill’s sponsor have worked together to hammer out an agreement so early in the process. Nobody else is opposing this. The lawyers for GM seem to be willing to stop at nothing to get their way. General Motors is a powerful influence in Maryland and you can see them flaunting it. That’s why it’s important for Maryland residents who want to see Tesla able to freely sell cars in the state to communicate with the members of the committee and tell them you support HB235.

    Here is the link to the official list on the Maryland website.

    Below is a list where, for reference, I added their party, district number and county. Here is a district map.

    Environment and Transportation Committee Members, Maryland House of Delegates
    Kumar P. Barve, Chair D 17 MONTGOMERY
    Dana M. Stein, Vice-Chair D 11 BALTIMORE CO
    Carl L. Anderton, Jr. R 38B WICOMICO
    Pamela G. Beidle D 32 ANNE ARUNDEL
    Alfred C. Carr, Jr. D 18 MONTGOMERY
    Andrew P. Cassilly R 35B CECIL & HARFORD
    Robert L. Flanagan R 9B HOWARD
    David Fraser-Hidalgo D 15 MONTGOMERY (co-sponsor)
    Barbara A. Frush D 21 AA & PG
    James W. Gilchrist D17 MONTGOMERY
    Anne Healey D 22 PG
    Marvin E. Holmes, Jr. D 23B PG
    Jay A. Jacobs R 36 CAROLINE, CECIL, KENT & QUEEN ANNES
    Tony Knotts D 26 PG
    Stephen W. Lafferty D 42A BALTIMORE
    Clarence K. Lam D 12 BALTIMORE & HOWARD (Freshman)
    Cory V. McCray D 45 BALTIMORE CITY
    Anthony J. O’Donnell R 26C CALVERT & ST MARYS
    Charles J. Otto R 38A SOMERSET & WORCESTER
    A. Shane Robinson R 39 MONTGOMERY
    Kathy Szeliga R 7 BALTIMORE CO & HARFORD
    Cathleen M. Vitale R 33 AA
     
  20. aarontayto

    aarontayto Member

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    I still think it's very crazy.

    We have a manufacturer - independent dealer system here. No need for any laws it just works!
     

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