How many will potentially harm the collision repair industry and how many might help it? Every year, this deluge of bills comes around like clockwork and that's why the annual ASCCA/CalABC/CAA’s Joint Legislative Day on April 25 in the State Capitol is always significant, as body shop and mechanical shop owners meet with their representatives to oppose some bills while endorsing others.
The individual sifting through these bills right now is Jack Molodanof, the go-to lawyer/lobbyist in California for the automotive repair industry who represents several statewide automotive associations, including the California Autobody Association (CAA) and Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA).
Every year, this enormous job is handled adroitly by Molodanof and his team. "We need to find the bills that are going to directly affect the automotive repair industry in California if they pass," he said. "There are always a lot of different groups out there with different agendas, so we need to be vigilant and thorough to ferret out the ones we need to address."
Again in 2017, CAA partners with the Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA)--the largest independent automotive repair organization in California--to hold this event. With more than 800 members, the ASCCA has been representing all areas of the automotive repair industry, including mechanical, auto body, supplier and educators in the automotive technology field for the past 77 years.
With scheduled appointments throughout the Capitol’s offices all day long, ASCCA/CAA members will break into smaller groups to canvas to cover as much territory as possible. As members of both organizations hurriedly search through the hallways looking for politicians’ offices to make their appointments, there is always a little excitement in the air, according to CAA Executive David McClune.
"We have limited time and we want to see as many people as we possibly can," McClune said. "I have seen that this type of lobbying truly works. When a body shop owner sits down with its local politician and tells them about their business and the issues that they face, they get attention. Starting a dialogue is the first step, and Legislative Day is where it happens in many cases."
This year's ASCCA State President David Kusa is ready to take on the Capitol on April 25. "I can confidently say the government work that we perform year after year has to be the best thing we do here at ASCCA, and partnering with an organization like CAA makes us even more powerful at the state level," Kusa said. "Having someone in Sacramento fighting for our rights is vital and shops need to know that we are playing that vital role at CAA."
CAA State President Kathy Mello also sees great value in this annual pilgrimage to the Capitol. “This is our big day every year when we can meet with our political representatives,” said. “We can influence these bills before they become laws and provide important feedback for our key decision makers, so we tell our membership to make the most of it. If we're not part of the process, we can't play a role, so Legislative Day is a huge deal for us and for the industry as a whole."
Executive Director Johan Gallo from the California Automotive Business Coalition (CalABC), one of the Legislative Day sponsors, values the annual event for several reasons, he said. "There are so many different professional automotive repair organizations in California, and Legislative Day is an excellent opportunity for all of us to get together and discuss our issues and needs. We're stronger if we're unified, and by sharing our knowledge with each other, we can stay that way."
Although most of the bills are still being reviewed by both organizations at this point, one is on both ASCCA and CAA's radar. It's AB 475, as introduced by Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey). Entitled "Total Loss Salvage Vehicles and Dismantled Vehicles: Registration," the bill states, "Existing law prohibits a vehicle that has been reported as a total loss salvage vehicle or dismantled vehicle from being subsequently registered until the prescribed bill of sale, an appropriate application, official lamp and brake adjustment certificates, as specified, other required documents and fees, and specified pollution control information is submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Existing law prohibits the Department of Motor Vehicles from registering a vehicle that has been reported as a total loss salvage vehicle or dismantled vehicle if the vehicle has been referred to the Department of the California Highway Patrol, or selected for inspection by that department, as specified, until the applicant for registration submits to the Department of Motor Vehicles a certification of that inspection.
"This bill would additionally require a certification of structural integrity to be submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles before a vehicle that has been reported as a total loss salvage vehicle or dismantled vehicle may be registered."
For body shops that hold annual car giveaways, this bill could impact their ability to take salvaged vehicles and refurbish them for deserving people, according to Molodanof.
Speakers on Legislative Day 2017 will include the Bureau of Automotive Repair's Chief Art Dorais and his new Deputy Chief Tim Corcoran, who will discuss BAR updates, regulations and enforcement. In addition, Assemblyman Ed Chau has also agreed to talk about AB 475 and field questions from ASCCA and CAA members in attendance.
Legislative Day starts at 8 am and runs until 3 at the Capitol Event Center, located at 1020 11th Street in Sacramento. The day commences with a breakfast featuring the day's speakers, as well as a presentation from Jack Molodanof about how to approach state legislators during the day.
"This is our chance to be heard as an industry in Sacramento," Molodanof said. "We work year round to make this happen and we know from our experience that we've changed bills and have had others blocked through our efforts."