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Tesla Remains Legal in Missouri, Legislature to Reconsider Ban Next Year

Categories: Autos

teslacar.jpg
Voxluna on Flickr
Will Missouri ban Tesla cars here next year?
Tesla won a major legislative battle last week when Republican leadership decided to pump the brakes on a bill that would effectively have kicked the electric car company out of Missouri.

Tesla, which has a service center in St. Louis, says it sells cars directly to consumers -- not through franchise car dealerships -- to cut out the unnecessary middleman. But an amendment added to legislation last week, the final week of the session, would have made direct sales illegal and stopped Tesla's Missouri business.

Republican leaders made it clear that the last-minute amendment was not ready for a final vote. Speaker Tim Jones told the Wall Street Journal the bill wouldn't come up before the house this session, but it'll get called up again next session with full hearings in both houses.

Republican Majority Leader John Diehl says that lawmakers were concerned the bill would restrict free-market forces and result in unintended consequences if passed by the House.

See also: Missouri Legislature Could Ban Tesla Cars with "Sneak Attack" Amendment

Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, called the amendment a "sneak attack" and quickly sent a team to Jefferson City to stop the bill.

teslamusk1.JPG
Pestoverde on Flickr
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla.
"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."

Even the Federal Trade Commission joined the legislative battle, coming out strongly against limiting Tesla's business in Missouri. FTC staff said the amendment was "very likely harming both competition and consumers" by restricting how car manufacturers sell to customers.

"House Bill 1124 would amplify the adverse effects of the current prohibition...[and] discourage innovation," the FTC said in a statement.

When the bill comes back up for debate next year, Tesla supporters will go up against the bill's sponsor, Representative Glen Kolkmeyer, who says 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 Springfield 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."

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



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19 comments
nrhirsch
nrhirsch

This is so stupid to oppose direct sales. it's anti-american, anti-capitalism, anti-logic, anti-innovation, anti-everything good. it's pro stupidity, pro good old boy network, pro schmuckville.

Bill Long
Bill Long

Put an end to salesmen con artistry. Buy a Tesla and say goodbye to the bad guy...or, It's not hip to buy from a huckster, so go with grow. Go Tesla!

Edward Hecker
Edward Hecker

Representative Kolkmeyer and the rest of the MO House Republicans are obviously in the pocket of the auto dealer lobby. How hypocritical for a Republican, the party that promotes free market capitalism, to have an objection to direct selling? Springfield, please keep your Republicans in Springfield, and not in the state government. We need a state government that is pro free market capitalism, not crony capitalism.

Luke Hirsch
Luke Hirsch

Don't you just love how the opposition cites "the way our fore fathers decided to do things." Instead of changing the rules to be more fair for everyone, they would rather protect their own self interest. This theme is all too common in politics today and quite frankly I'm sick of it.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Awesome! Looking forward to seeing more of their cars on the road!

Noah Leitch
Noah Leitch

Its a free market, ford etc could do the same thing if they wanted.

Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips

leave Tesla alone. How can anyone be against what they are doing?

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I just went with my son so he could buy a new car to about a dozen dealers. When we finally found the car he wanted, we spent two hours standing at a car lot waiting for salesman to get their shit together. Apparently, all the batteries were dead on the cars we wanted to test drive. It was beyond pathetic. After they finally got us in the damn car, and he decided that he did want to buy it, we were out of time. Came back the next day just to do the same waiting game for the finance guy. My son finally went into the dealership and announced for all to hear that, "If this finance guy does not present himself, the deal is over. We are done. We are leaving right now." Suddenly, the finance guy presents himself, being very cordial. We signed a stack of paperwork and jetted out of there in the new car. We got nothing but hassles and apologies for two days. Dealers ain't so great.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

Too bad not many in missouri can afford these due to Obama given us change to live on...

Aaron Gershman
Aaron Gershman

Free market trade. Free enterprise! Bring on the Tesla! Bring on the Capitalism!

nrhirsch
nrhirsch

Actually safest car on the road according to consumer reports.   Car of the year 2 years in a row.  Can you say where you got your opinion?


jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

shut the fuck up you neanderthal

nrhirsch
nrhirsch

your screen name helps explain your uninformed comment.


jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

whatever you say stupid fuck

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