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auto-glass bill

Post Time:Apr 17,2012Classify:Industry NewsView:278

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has sent a letter to senators in the Legislature to voice opposition to House Bill 2197, which would affect consumers' choices in getting auto glass repaired or replaced.


The chamber says the bill would interfere with a business' freedom to contract with service providers.

The bill targets Safelite, which employs about 800 in Arizona, including 600 at a call center in Chandler.

The bill, which would affect more than 100 auto insurers who use Safelite as their third-party administrator for claims, was encouraged by rivals of Safelite who say they lose out on business and that the measure would level the playing field.


Motorists who need auto-glass repair call their insurance companies and, depending on the insurer, may be referred to Safelite, where a third-party administrator will send an inspector. The vehicle owner then has a choice of shops to do the repair.


The legislation would create a rotating list of repair shops, and the consumer would receive a choice of three providers to use.


"This bill causes concerns for all businesses by intruding on a company's freedom to contract with other service providers as it sees fit," the chamber letter said.


It was signed by Glenn Hamer, the chamber's president and CEO, and Garrick Taylor,the chamber's vice president of government relations and communications.


Through this bill, "insurers ... would lose the ability to help their customers identify facilities with high levels of customer service and product quality," the letter said.


"We are very troubled by this intrusion on the right to contract and the right to choose with whom a company does business on behalf of its customers."


In addition, the chamber said, the bill is likely "an unconstitutional infringement on commercial free speech and may unconstitutionally impair existing contracts and violate the Commerce Clause."


Furthermore, the chamber said, the legislation sends the wrong message to companies considering a move to Arizona.


"Inflicting this level of regulatory uncertainty on a company recruited to come to our state will have a chilling effect on future recruitment efforts," the letter said.


Sen. Rick Murphy, R-Peoria, submitted the legislation in the form of a striker amendment, replacing the original bill, which addressed alternative methods of paying state fees. He did not return a phone call or an e-mail requesting an interview about the issue.


Rep. Jeff Dial, R-Chandler, has said he supports the measure.


"Currently, there are some structural elements in place in the auto-glass industry that make it difficult for independent operators to thrive, or even survive," Dial said.


Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, who represents the district where Safelite's Chandler call center is located, said he had not had the opportunity to look at the amendment and that he does not expect to be "looking at any amendments until it becomes viable for consideration."


Sen. John McComish, R-Ahwatukee Foothills, said in an e-mail, "It is my understanding that there are significant changes being proposed for this bill. I need to see those changes before commenting further."

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the measure.

Source: http://www.azcentral.comAuthor: shangyi

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