Indiana’s so-called “Kill Tesla” bill was tabled yesterday by its state legislature.
The action came as a state senate committee met to discuss the bill which would require any electric-car maker who’d been selling cars in the state for more than 30 months to work with franchised dealerships.
Indian’s Senate Commerce and Technology Committee has set the bill – House Bill 1254 – to the side for now, by voting to send it to a summer study committee. The decision came after Indiana’s House passed the legislation on Feb. 2.
Part of the reason the bill was sent away for further study was because of the response that the bill’s sponsor and another legislator said they received.
Representative Jim Buck (R, Kokomo) said he’d been the target of “incivility” from Tesla enthusiasts during the past week, a time in which the proposed legislation has made national headlines.
Republican Kevin Mahan, whose district includes Hartford City, is the bill’s author, and he agreed with Buck that the bill should go to the study committee, which means that it won’t be considered again until next year at the earliest.
“We look forward to participating in the upcoming summer study process where we will be able to fully air the issues of vehicle sales and consumer choice in an open and public forum” Tesla general counsel Todd Maron said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Tesla accused General Motors of being the backing force behind the bill, as current law prohibits GM and other automakers from using the direct to consumers’ sales model that Tesla uses.
GM issued this statement in response:
“GM is very pleased that we were able to elevate the issue of disparity impacting our dealer partners in Indiana, that this received as much attention as it did, and that this issue advanced as far as it did. We appreciate the Indiana legislature for taking this on, debating, and helping raise the profile of this important issue, which demonstrates the inequity of different competitors having different rules in the marketplace.”
Buck said criticism of GM has been unfair in his opinion.
“So far in this discourse, GM has been the whipping boy,” Buck said.
Mahan said the bill was about fair competition.
“We have heard that (the bill) is anti-free market,” he said. “Let’s be clear: A truly free market would have no rules or regulations whatsoever.”
Mahan also said that the bill wasn’t meant to force Tesla out of Indiana.
“That would have been their choice not to comply with the law,” he said of Tesla.