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Missouri Legislature Could Ban Tesla Cars with "Sneak Attack" Amendment

Categories: Autos, Politics

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Elon Musk, Tesla's cofounder, calls the amendment on House Bill No. 1124 a "sneak attack" on his business.
A last-minute amendment added days before the end of Missouri's legislative session could block electric-car company Tesla from selling to customers in Missouri.

Tesla decried the legislative maneuvering as a "sneak attack" that would "hurt consumer freedom in Missouri" after learning about the amendment to House Bill 1124. The amendment would stop car sellers like Tesla from circumventing franchise dealers and selling directly to customers.

The Missouri Senate passed the bill, including the amendment, without debate Wednesday.

See also: Found on Craigslist: 1975 Electric Car Looks Part-Golf Cart, Part-Cheese Wedge

Update, 10:40 a.m. - Republican Majority Leader John Diehl tells the Associated Press he has no plans to move forward with the bill, especially since so many other lawmakers are concerned that it could limit the free market and have other unintended consequences. End of update.

So what has Tesla so hot and bothered? House Bill 1124 says that dealership franchises are not allowed to sell directly to consumers, and the amendment expands the definition of "franchise" to include car manufacturers such as Tesla -- a move that Tesla Motors co-ounder Elon Musk calls "a pirouette of which the legislators may not even be aware."

Tesla, which has one service center in St. Louis and is opening another in Kansas City, says it sells cars directly to consumers -- not through franchise car dealerships -- to cut out the unnecessary middleman. If passed in its current form, the bill would effectively stop Tesla from selling its cars in Missouri.

"To be clear: This is worse than a mere case of dealers trying to protect an existing monopoly," Musk writes on Tesla's blog. "This is a case of dealers trying to create a monopoly."

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Representative Glen Kolkmeyer.
The bill's sponsor, Representative Glen Kolkmeyer, a Republican from Odessa, tells the Springfield News-Leader that allowing Tesla to sell directly to consumers opens the floodgates for foreign dealers to sell cars to Missourians over the Internet.

"You can't have two sets of rules for the same type of business or industry," Kolkmeyer told the News-Leader. If Tesla wants to sell in Missouri, Kolkmeyer adds, it'll have to follow the same procedures as a Ford or Honda dealership. "Our forefathers decided that any car sold in the state of Missouri would be sold through a dealer. This new company is skating around those rules."

The legislative session ends this week, making it the perfect time to sneak through amendments that senators and congressmen might not catch before summer break. Kolkmeyer denied to the News-Leader that the anti-Tesla amendment was purposely filed at the last minute.

"This issue has been vetted more than most issues down in Jefferson City, just through the halls and e-mails and what have you," Kolkmeyer said.

Tesla officials planned to protest the amendment in Jefferson City Monday. The bill still needs approval from the House.

"This debate should be held in the full light of day with all sides being given an opportunity to make their case," Musk says in a Tesla blog post titled "Trouble in Missouri."

"Instead, the dealers are again trying to ram through a provision under the cover of darkness and without public debate. The people of Missouri deserve better from their elected officials."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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63 comments
Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Angel. I guess you don't eat any food ? Don't have clothes ? Live out doors unsheltered ? Don't take any medicines ? All of these use oil. You did know that right ? Of course you did. :)

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Maybe you should look at how they mine the minerals for your precious batteries. You may want to change your position. You don't buy into the global warming crap do you ?

Tyler Garrett
Tyler Garrett

THROW KOLKMEYER INTO THE PITTS OF HELL FOR THIS !!!!!!

Angel Dais
Angel Dais

The Industrial Revolution is becomming outdated and corporate fat wallets are doing everything in their power to stop progress, to stop the Technological Revolution that will literally stop destroying the planet and save our species for the inevitable extinction big oil is sending us towards. We have to stand up and save ourselves by stopping corporations from killing us with the poisons they send into our atmosphere. We have to stop them from stopping progress.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

I wrote to my MO State Rep. I hope all the Tesla supporters here do, too!

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Will they are pretty sound as you found out. I don't think the US is ready for it yet. Foreign markets yes. We don't have the infrastructure yet plus the mind set is still gas. Time will tell. Take care. Glad you found the site :)

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Austin wow. Facts are facts. You decide what to believe. As for the cunt comment. Ok let's go street a tad. I hop you die a slow painful death from aids. I hope the children you've molested over the years piss on your open sores. See. I can be like you. I choose not. Have a nice day.

Will Ogden
Will Ogden

That was a pretty insightful argument Austin. I suspect, however, there may be a logical fallacy in the "get bent you cunt" part.

Will Ogden
Will Ogden

Thanks Scott. I looked at their SEC filings and it looks like they've done pretty well on paper. It was pretty interesting to read. One of the things I didn't know was that they also assemble and sell battery packs for the hybrid cars made by other larger auto manufacturers like Daimler Benz. The SEC filings on the .gov site didn't specify the number of cars they sold for some reason but the filings on the Tesla website is written in easier to consume language. One of the confounding issues is that they also lease their cars rather than just sell them outright. http://ir.teslamotors.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1193125-14-58778&CIK=1318605

Austin Stephan
Austin Stephan

Scott stop being such a know-it-all; things change in society...you can't have it YOUR way all the time. Get bent you cunt.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Will, start with the SEC filings. That will get you going. See what a company really makes and is worth on paper.

Will Ogden
Will Ogden

Please point me in the right direction Scott, where did you find these public records you're citing I'd like to read them myself. I'm completely serious. I did research and found the forbes article I posted above. If he is deliberately trying to mislead me I'd like to know. Did you hear your information second hand from a source you trust? Could they be deliberately misleading you? Who do we trust? The guy who wrote the article claimed that he got his information from the number of Tesla cars that were registered and from the public records of the cars they sold in the US.

Harrison Elfrink
Harrison Elfrink

I hope Toyota and Honda influence our brave and intelligent legislators to ban the manufacturing and sales of domestic fuel efficient cars. We need to be more open to the world!

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Isn't ironic or hypocritical for the environmental whacks supporting an electric car ? Electricity is made mostly from that evil coal.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Will tesla financial records. It's public knowledge. Do a little research.

Denis Phillips
Denis Phillips

I love when government trumps capitalism. As I speak through the corner Of my mouth.

Dan Sterkin
Dan Sterkin

I betcha if someone built a car that ran on coal and used jesus juice to lube the engine...they'd make an exception!

Will Ogden
Will Ogden

Where are you getting your information from Scott?

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Brian please move back to California where the term "dude " is considered proper English.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Brian according to Tesla financial records 4 were sold in the US. Name calling ? Must be a lib

Sean Neuber
Sean Neuber

Hmmm, I willing to bet the state lawmakers are being swayed by a certain Big Oil industry. This isn't politics, it's rigging a monopoly. From freedom to fascism!

Brian Mull
Brian Mull

Scott Shoemaker, dude seriously, I moved to Cali from St. Louis a year ago and I see more than 8-10 Teslas a day. So for your comment of only sold 4 in 2013, man, you stupid.

Frank May
Frank May

Very narrow-sighted move by our Missouri legislatures to keep our state in the "Dark Ages"!

Richard Cline
Richard Cline

Why would they do that? Let them compete. Free market capitalism.

Marti Rowland Gurley
Marti Rowland Gurley

Wow!! I don't know much about them. Saw one on the road a few days ago and googled it.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Tesla sold 4 cars in the us in 2013. Much ado about a nothing company. Lmao

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Most are sold overseas. I think mo should let them sell. Let the market decide.

Zac Nevill
Zac Nevill

I see more than 3 teslas cruising around on my lunch break everyday

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Do some research. 4 cars sold in the US. Gm is broke. How many Chevy volts have been sold ? Unions had there time. That time has gone. The free market sets the field. Let's look at a few union areas. UAW broke. USP broke. Airlines broke. Federal employees broke. See the pattern ? Be in a union don't be. I don't care. Just don't force anyone to be in them. They are a scam from day one. These are facts. I know. Pesky facts.

Michael J Keller
Michael J Keller

(PSST! I reread what I wrote, and not once did I find one instance of the word "Lazy" in my comment. But,I am grateful that you are so honest as to owning up to the huge Elephant in the room! In a likewise parallel move, I would now like to do a little different take on Michael Sam's response (which was to ignore them completely), when 16 members of the Westboro "Baptist" Church protested his return to the Mizzou Arena to accept the 2014 Cotton Bowl championship trophy after recently coming out as being openly gay in the largely testosterone filled sport of football. Personally, I would have told his supporters, which blocked out the Westboro protesters, "Thank you for being here. Please continue your efforts." Then - I would have darted behind their protective barrier, I would have bent straight over at the waist (over their barricade tape), stuck my hand straight out in front of me, and I would have happily shook every one of their hands with a huge smile on my face. I would have told them: "Thank ya for being here! I am glad you could make the trip to see me! Your presence tells me that I have risen to an all new level and that I have finally made it! I have overcome family, peer and public obstacles and I am headed to a place in my career that I only dreamed about a few years ago. Again, I say, "THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!" Your presence is a clear indication that I have done something good for my fellow man, since you only 'protest' those of us that have risen above the rest! Now, make sure you don't miss my funeral! Now, somebody get the folks a drink, and some cookies and milk for the little ones!" ...and I would have done a happy half-Gospel, half-tap dance on my way down their line!

Michael Kepler
Michael Kepler

Teslas get massive tax cuts to accommodate for their high price tag, and even CEO Elon Musk has said that once the cars sell more, they'll drop significantly in price. Dealership networks are afraid of them because it revolutionizes the car buying process and cuts out scumbag dealerships that can financially scam an unknowing customer with silly fees.

Michael Kepler
Michael Kepler

I don't know what rock you've been living under, but every major American car company is doing really well for themselves (save GM for the whole ignition issues). Ford and Chevrolet outsell or at the very least pace Toyota and Honda. To your Detroit comment, it's called the rust belt. I'm from Cleveland, Ohio, and I'm born from a family of steel workers. Those areas are crippled because Chinese steel and manufacturing is cheap. Chinese factory workers get paid a horrible wage - if you can even call it a wage - and live in horribly unhealthy conditions. Do you remember Foxconn? Yeah, I don't know many American workers committing mass suicide to protest awful working conditions. Let me ask you this, if you work a job where you have time off, do you enjoy your off time? You can thank unions for that. There's countless good that unions have done for the American worker - whether unionized or not - despite what you want to believe. There's plenty of American companies that are doing well for themselves with unionized workers.

Timothy McCaffrey
Timothy McCaffrey

What are they afraid of concerning Tesla? Loss of sales? The Teslas are 75-100000 dollars. It does'nt make sense.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

The company is a piece of crap. Let them try and sell. So they sell 1-3 cars in Missouri. Sounds more like get my name in the news.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Boy scott you sure do like living in the fucking past. Continue to gnash your teeth shake your fists while the world moves away from your backwoods neanderthal values you wrongheaded low IQ fuckstick

adf01
adf01

Do you just spout this stuff?  Anyway, what has that to do with the direct-sales model?  But FYI (source: eia.gov)

  • Coal 37%
  • Natural Gas 30%
  • Nuclear 19%
  • Hydropower 7%
  • Other Renewable 5%
    • Biomass 1.42%
    • Geothermal 0.41%
    • Solar 0.11%
    • Wind 3.46%
  • Petroleum 1%
  • Other Gases < 1%

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Yeah a mirror will do that to you in general

adf01
adf01

130 sold in Missouri so far.  Hell, there were half a dozen at the capitol yesterday (12 May) to protest the lousy anti-direct sales bill.  Many more on order.

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