The United Auto Workers (UAW) union backed Connecticut car dealers as well as a Democratic state senator in opposing legislation that would enable direct-to-consumer sales of specified high-end electric vehicles (EVs) on Tuesday (April 30) morning.
Sen. Julie Kushner, a Democrat from Danbury who co-chairs the state’s labor committee, held a remote press conference to oppose a bill that has been stuck in the Connecticut legislature for years. It would exempt electric-only automakers such as Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid from a state regulation that requires them to sell their vehicles via franchise dealerships.
“I’m a firm believer in the need to transition to electric vehicles (EVs), and I believe we’re doing so on many platforms in the state, and I see car manufacturers following suit,” Kushner added. “I don’t think a Tesla bill is necessary. I don’t see why Elon Musk should be promoted since he is already the world’s ruler.”
Musk, the CEO of Tesla, was mentioned by Kushner after it was announced on Monday that the contentious billionaire had bought the social media platform Twitter.
However, the increased attempt to defeat the law exempting Tesla as well as other makers could be interpreted as an indication that the bill’s support has increased in the state Senate. It quietly expired on the Senate schedule at the end of last year’s session.
Connecticut auto dealers have consistently opposed the bill, contending that it is unjust to establish a loophole for a small group of competitors who chose to ignore the law.
Tesla as well as other electric-only manufacturers might sell their products in Connecticut, according to Brian Schneck, president of Local 259 UAW Region 9A in New York.
“What exactly is the issue? We’ve seen a lot of [Original Equipment Manufacturers] make a lot of money, treat their customers well, and produce high-quality products. Why should Tesla be treated any differently? You might wonder”. Schneck remarked. “What is the reason for the EV OEMs’ request for a specific exemption?”
As of Tuesday, Senate Democratic leaders had not said if the bill would be voted on the floor. Senate President Martin Looney indicated earlier this month that the bill would be introduced if supporter Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, showed sufficient support for passage, and only then if time allowed for debate. The position has not changed, according to a spokesperson.
The law, according to Haskell, will allow “companies who desperately desire to set up shop in Connecticut as well as develop good-paying, green-collar jobs” to do so. Meanwhile, Rivian’s vice president of public policy, James Chen, issued a statement on Tuesday pushing the state of Connecticut to adopt an open market business model.
“Rivian appreciates the opportunity to empower Connecticut consumers to choose whether they want to buy an electric vehicle directly from a maker or a franchised dealer,” Chen added. “We’re hoping for a yes from the legislature.”
Despite the fact that time is running out, Kushner is concerned that the bill will be addressed in the next few days. She compared the last days of the parliamentary session to a “jigsaw puzzle,” with politicians scrambling to fit competing goals into their schedules. The law to regulate the sale of electric vehicles was “definitely under consideration.”