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ASA Ohio Legislature Update: Lame Duck Wrap-up

Earlier this month Ohio’s legislators put the finishing touches on dozens of bills and concluded their work for the year. The end of the year also marks the conclusion of the 131st Ohio General Assembly, as a new crop of recently elected legislators take over next year. Historically, the end of the any legislative session, known as lame duck, is filled with legislative activity, as lawmakers attempt to pass as much legislation as possible. Often this is accomplished by combining several bills together in what becomes known as “Christmas tree” bills (where amendments are hung like ornaments on a tree). This year was no exception, as legislators navigated through a very chaotic legislative agenda, which included the passage of multiple Christmas tree bills. ASA Ohio was there throughout the entire process, representing the interests of its members and representing Ohio’s independent automotive repair industry. Below is an overview of the issues ASA Ohio lobbied:

HB 341 – Towing Reforms

While this bill focused on reforming Ohio’s towing laws, ASA Ohio was involved throughout the entire legislative process, ensuring that the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit, a resource many shops utilize to more easily address the problem of unclaimed vehicles, was protected. ASA Ohio was happy to see language added to the bill clarifying that a repair facility may use the affidavit on unclaimed vehicles, even if the person who requested the repair was not the owner of the vehicle. The bill also included language establishing a new “destruction only” affidavit process, which would allow shops to obtain a salvage title to vehicles that are left unclaimed, valued under $1,500 and inoperable.

SB 3 – Education Reforms Impacting Future Technicians

It is no secret that the automotive repair industry is facing a workforce shortage. Not only must we find ways to recruit new technicians, but we must also ensure that these technicians are properly trained and prepared to work when they graduate. With this in mind, ASA Ohio successfully advocated for an amendment in an education reform bill (SB 3) that would recognize the ASE student certification as an acceptable measure of skill attainment for students in career technical programs. This significant change will result in more students obtaining the ASE student certification, meaning they will be better prepared when they enter the workforce.

Motor Vehicle Repair Board

Ohio’s Motor Vehicle Repair Board was created in the late 1990’s to serve the automotive repair industry and protect the public from unscrupulous operations. For nearly two decades the Board has been a great resource for those in the collision repair industry. Nevertheless, the Board has faced opposition from lawmakers who view it, and numerous other state boards, as unnecessary. ASA Ohio was able to work in collaboration with the Board to deflect multiple attempts to have it eliminated. The most recent attack occurred during the last few weeks of session when legislation was passed that implemented recommendations from the Sunset Review Committee – a panel that is charged with determining if state boards should be eliminated or consolidated. Fortunately, the Motor Vehicle Repair Board was not included in the Sunset Review legislation and will continue to function as normal. Nevertheless, we expect the Board to continue to face opposition and we must be prepared to defend it.

Protecting the Public

ASA Ohio also spearheaded the development of administrative rules that would protect the public by allowing them to more easily identify reputable and law-abiding collision repair facilities. These administrative rules charge the Motor Vehicle Repair Board to issue window decals to each repair facility that is registered. A second policy change requires all registered businesses to display their registration number on each estimate and invoice. These rules are aimed at increasing public awareness and helping ensure that consumers are taking their vehicles to registered, law-abiding repair facilities.