Bill Lets Tesla Sell Cars in State
Opposed by auto and truck dealers, who’ve donated $1.1 million to state politicians.
The measure would exempt electric auto manufacturers from state laws that bar auto and truck makers from selling their product directly to consumers or servicing their own products. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Chris Kapenga, of Delafield, and Rep. Rob Brooks, of Saukville, who said Wisconsin would join 23 other states that allow Tesla to sell and service its vehicles if the measure is passed.
The lawmakers said the proposal grants an exemption only for electric auto manufacturers. The law remains in place for traditional dealerships in order to protect them from manufacturers of gas-powered vehicles from opening their own dealer and service centers, they said.
Currently, Wisconsin residents have to purchase and service their Tesla cars outside the state.
The proposal drew swift opposition from auto dealers, who claimed the current dealership laws benefit consumers by promoting competition.
Auto and truck dealers contributed more than $1.1 million to Wisconsin legislative and statewide candidates between January 2011 and June 2017, including about $626,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Current legislators accepted about $349,250 from auto and truck dealers, and most of those contributions, about $290,550, went to Republicans who control the Assembly and Senate by comfortable margins. Top legislative recipients were the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, $40,350, the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate, about $27,200, and GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, of Juneau, $23,600.
Top industry donors to legislative and statewide candidates between January 2011 and June 2017 were:
David Lynch, of Burlington, chairman of the Lynch Dealerships, $56,250;
A political action committee operated by the Council of Auto and Truck Retailers, $46,200.