Wednesday, 06 May 2015 00:00

NYSACTA and LIABRA Review Aftermarket Parts Bill During 2015 Lobby Day

On April 2015, representatives from the New York State Auto Collision Technicians Association (NYSACTA) and the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen's Association (LIABRA) traveled to Albany to lobby their state's assemblymen and senators. These representatives included Ed Kizenberger, Executive Director of both associations, Ed Kizenberger Jr., Director Paul O'Connell, Director Joe Stelmokas and Hank Hancock.

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Collision repair representatives from NYSACTA review lobbying materials.

 

At 8AM, they were joined at the Legislative Office Building by over 40 NYSACTA members from all over the state, coming from Syracuse, Utica, Albany, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, Newburgh, New York City and the five boroughs. These representatives from the collision repair industry met with lobbyist Pam Madeiros and the staff from Greenberg Taurig LLC, NYSACTA's Lobby Law Firm.

The event began with Madeiras distributing the schedule containing members' appointed meetings with local representatives and reviewing each group's lobbying schedule. She also provided members with lobbying packets for both themselves and the legislators with whom they met; contained within each packet were copies of all the bills of concern with supporting documents and talking points. In addition to briefly discussing each bill, Madeiros offered lobbying advice to aid attendees in their endeavors. The legislators' lobbying packets contained OEM bulleting, letters from consumers and pertinent news articles, as well as a CD featuring informative videos, including Anderson Cooper's report on "Auto Insurers Accused of Pushing Cheap and Sometimes Dangerous Repairs." These packets were designed to aid the collision repair representatives in their discussions with legislators.

Before attending their scheduled appointments, Kizenberger reviewed A2880, an aftermarket parts bill which would require insurers to disclose the type of parts they pay for to consumers. It would also prohibit the use of anything except OEM parts on vehicles that are two years old or newer. He also discussed A6684, a parts procurement bill intended to prevent insurers from mandating a particular vendor from whom shops can purchase parts and materials. As he discussed each bill, Kizenberger answered members' questions about the proposed legislation and lobbying.

Beginning at 9AM, participants met with local legislators and their staffs to teach them about the collision repair industry and how their support of the bills would positively affect the daily lives of consumers and shops.

Responses were favorable with many legislators and their staff due to their own experiences with claims, while others confessed to being completely dissatisfied and disillusioned with insurers' tactics that forced them to use aftermarket parts or pay the difference for OEM parts.

One NYSACTA member recounts, "As soon as we opened up with a comment regarding a particular insurance company's tactics, staff members themselves would break into a story of how they were given a deceptive referral by their insurance company and though they 'had to' go to the insurer's recommended shop."

The 2015 Lobby Day was very productive and successful. While members were encouraged to join other members' meetings if their schedule permitted, Kizenberger, Madeiros, Kizenberger Jr. and Mike Orso, President of NYSACTA, met with the Leaders of the Senate and Assembly, the Attorney General's office and the NCOIL President. In the morning, Hancock, O'Connell and Stelmokas had an appointment with Assemblyman Murray and Senator Flanagan which resulted in both legislators agreeing to sponsor bills A2880 and A6684. Hancock, O'Connell, Stelmokas, Kizenberger and Madeiros also had a very productive meeting with Robert Farley, Senior Counsel for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

As the day concluded, participants gathered at the Legislative Office Building's cafeteria where Kizenberger noted, "Our lobbying campaign was a huge success. Support for our bills on aftermarket parts disclosure and parts procurement were met with great understanding and acceptance. In addition, our meetings with members of the Attorney General's office were very encouraging."

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