On Feb. 12, members of the Houston Auto Body Association (HABA) and the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) gathered at the Texas Capitol in Austin, TX, for their Inaugural Collision Day at the Capitol.
According to ABAT Executive Director Jill Tuggle, “We planned this event to make lawmakers aware of the safety crisis that is happening in the collision repair business and that HB 1348 was written to address these issues. The day went very well. We met at the Capitol and were introduced in the House and the Senate. We had meetings with legislators and had a rally outside. We exceeded our expectations. Almost 100 people showed up in support, and thanks to Texas Watch, we made some lasting impressions.
“Attendees came from all over Texas to show their support. It was inspiring to see shop owners, managers, technicians and jobbers drive several hours to participate. It was a demanding day with some attendees leaving home as early as 4 a.m., participating in a very long day’s work, and then driving back home to be at their businesses the next day. It was surprising to see such energy from this exhausted crowd. It always feels good to let your voice be heard and make a difference, and that was evident on the faces of the participants.”
HABA President John Kopriva added, “We were pleasantly surprised on the morning of Feb. 12 to find an overwhelming response from all over the state. Everybody was fired up about what we would be doing.”
In anticipation of the event, eight HABA members traveled to Austin on Feb. 6 and divided into pairs to visit as many offices in the Senate and House as possible and distribute information about the group’s upcoming visit.
Texas Collision Day at the Capitol began with a rendezvous on the west side of the Capitol at 9:30 a.m. Attendees were then introduced in the House Gallery by Representative Travis Clardy (R) before being recognized in the Senate Gallery. Following lunch at the Capitol Grille, attendees met with Melissa Hamilton and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel to discuss the industry’s issues, the associations’ missions, and House Bill 1348.