Yesterday morning, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs held a hearing and took up testimony on SB 1654 the Right to Repair bill. Several dealers testified in opposition to the bill as well as NAEDA.
The hearing began with the bill sponsor, Senator Kolkhorst (R), presenting the bill with a lengthy explanation that boiled down to wanting to start the conversation, but not necessarily pass a bill. She mentioned several reservations she had with the current bill language, including the fair and reasonable terms that force manufacturers to sell directly to owners and independent repair shops at dealer net cost.
The testimony provided by dealers was outstanding and pointed to the issues the bill language would create for their customers, their business model, safety of their employees and the effect it would have on used equipment. The committee was very receptive to the information provided and asked several questions of those testifying.
Four proponents of the bill testified next. Their testimony was a combination of misleading or false statements and wild conjecture about issues unrelated to the text of the bill, or even the issue of Right to Repair.
The hearing concluded without a vote. The Chairman of the committee and the bill sponsor made comments that indicated the bill would not move to a vote and would be tabled this session. There was a general consensus that legislators would like to know more about the repair offerings that dealers make available to customers through potential dealer demonstrations, and that the intent of the bill is not to harm local equipment dealerships.
Moving forward, NAEDA will continue to monitor the bill and keep you updated on any changes in its status. Looking to the interim, we will also be coordinating with dealers and legislators to host in-district dealer demonstrations.
We would like to thank all the dealers that contacted members of the committee prior to the hearing. It was noted several times by members of the committee that they received numerous contacts from dealers leading up to the hearing.
We would also like to thank those dealers that took time away from the dealership to appear at the hearing to represent their industry and testify on the bill. Those dealers include Hlavinka Equipment Company, United Ag & Turf, Shoppa’s Farm Supply, WC Tractor, and King Ranch Ag & Turf.
Dealers clearly made the difference in the outcome of this hearing. If you have any questions about the bill or its status, please contact me directly.