Every year, there are a handful of state bills that are relevant to the collision repair industry.
These bills can either help or hurt body shops in California. Unless body shop owners address these bills and make their voices heard in Sacramento, the "good" bills can be defeated, while the "bad" bills can pass and become laws. It's an unending battle, which is why the California Autobody Association (CAA) and other automotive repair companies convene in Sacramento annually to be part of the fight.
The ASCCA /CalABC/CAA’s Automotive Aftermarket Industry Joint Legislative Day was held at the State Capitol on April 23. With three particular bills on their radar, all three organizations had an opportunity to meet with their state representatives. Both collision and mechanical repair industries were represented by more than 60 automotive professionals who attended the day-long event. The event was sponsored by CAA; the California Automotive Business Coalition (CalABC), an organization that has been representing the automotive industry since 1992; and the Automotive Service Councils of America (ASSCA).
Following comments from Jack Molodanof, lobbyist for all three organizations, there was a discussion about AB 1303: Career Technical Education Incentive Grants (O'Donnell, D-Long Beach); AB 755: California Tire Tax: Storm Water Projects (Holden, D-San Gabriel Valley) and SB 522: Sales Taxes on Labor (Hertzberg, D-San Fernando). CAA, CalABC and ASCCA support AB 1303, oppose AB 755 and have major concerns with SB 522.
A bill that has appeared over the last few years in different forms is AB 1303 -- which if passed would allow more students to gain college and career skills by accessing quality Career Technical Education (CTE) by increasing annual funding from $150 million to $450 million.
Molodanof said this bill is receiving major support and gaining momentum in Sacramento, as the need for qualified automotive repair professionals is stronger than ever.
"Shop programs are going away and teachers are retiring, so the timing for AB 1303 is ideal," he said. "These program need money for teachers, updated equipment, tools and curriculum to support these vital programs for the future of our workforce."
AB 755 would increase the current California tax tire fee from $1.75 to $3.25, with the additional revenue going to municipal storm-water projects that would prevent or remediate zinc pollutants. Storm-water runoff comes from rain that could contain a wide range of pollutants, including zinc. Molodanof believes AB 755 is excessive and could lead to other problems down the road.