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Senate Democrats Urge Senate Republicans to Concur on SB 126

CONCORD – Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen wrote a letter today to Republican Senate President Peter Bragdon urging him and his Republican colleagues to concur with the House version of SB 126.
“Senate Bill 126 provides important protections for our local small businesses to ensure that they are treated fairly by automobile manufacturers and can continue to grow and thrive in our communities,” said Senator Larsen. “Auto dealers and their affiliated businesses are a vital part of our state economy; in fact, they represent 24 percent of total retail sales in New Hampshire. Auto dealers also employ more than 14,400 people in good-paying jobs with an average wage of $49,000. These small businesses are pillars of local communities, sustaining local youth activities, civic enterprises, and charities. They deserve fair treatment and support from this Legislature.”

 

“The House has made a number of changes to the bill, but has retained the spirit and intent of the legislation to put safeguards in place for our local businesses,” continued Senator Larsen. “These changes maintain our goals and in some places enhance the original bill that we passed. Senate Democrats support the House version of the bill and respectfully urge the Senate to concur with the House bill at our earliest opportunity.” 

 

Senate Bill 126 was cited as a top legislative priority for Senate Democrats back in January when they outlined their jobs agenda which is focused on job creation through economic opportunity, innovation, and growth.

 

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The full text of Senator Larsen’s letter to Republican Senate President Bragdon can be found below:

Dear Senator Bragdon:

I am writing on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus to ask that you and our Republican colleagues in the Senate concur with the House version of SB 126 so that we can speedily pass this important legislation. 

As you know, SB 126 provides important protections for our local small businesses to ensure that they are treated fairly by automobile manufacturers and can continue to grow and thrive in our communities. Auto dealers and their affiliated businesses are a vital part of our state economy; in fact, they represent 24 percent of total retail sales in New Hampshire. Auto dealers also employ more than 14,400 people in good-paying jobs with an average wage of $49,000. These small businesses are pillars of local communities, sustaining local youth activities, civic enterprises, and charities. They deserve fair treatment and support from this legislature.

SB 126 passed in the Senate on a 21-2 vote, with all Democratic members in support (and one member abstaining).  The House made a number of changes to the bill, but has retained the spirit and intent of the legislation to put safeguards in place for our local businesses.  Among these changes:

  • The bill retains a 15-year restriction on facility upgrades but now includes an exemption if the manufacturer is willing to pay for 65 percent of the cost.
  • Access to manufacturer documents is now limited to routine business reports.
  • The warranty audit timeframe has been decreased from 12 to 9 months.
  • The market rate for warranty parts now uses a standard formula to establish the rate; manufacturers can audit and compare the rate to that of other local dealers.
  • A buy-local provision allows dealers to buy goods and services from a vendor of their choice, though the factory must approve the vendor. Materials must be of equal quality to the manufacturer’s vendor and meet the overall design.
  • Manufacturers are prohibited from using sales performance measurements that include exported vehicles. 
  • A manufacturer is prohibited from forcing a dealer to use the manufacturer’s extended warranty plans.
  • An automaker is blocked from forcing a prospective dealer or a renewing dealer to agree to exclusivity or site control.

These changes maintain our goals and in some places enhance the original bill that we passed.  We therefore support the House version of the bill, and respectfully urge the Senate to concur with the House bill at our earliest opportunity. 

Sincerely,

 

Sylvia Larsen

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