Franchise relations bills helpful to dealers cleared the Va. Gen. Assembly

Franchise relations bills helpful to dealers cleared the Va. Gen. Assembly

Governor likely to sign into law

In what many believe was an unusually harmonious session of the Virginia General Assembly, legislators came together on the majority of the nearly 3,000 bills they considered, bringing the 44 day session to adjournment a day early, last Friday, Feb. 27. In this spirit, Virginia dealers gained several helpful franchise relations measures unanimously adopted by the House and Senate, meaning Gov. McAuliffe will likely sign them into law on or before the March 29 deadline. In any event, the General Assembly will reconvene Apr. 15 to consider any actions taken by the governor.

HB 1935 broadens the coercion part of Virginiaês franchise law to prevent automaker franchisors from pressuring dealers through their affiliates. Captive finance companies, for example, wonêt be able to compel dealers to use their finance and insurance products. The bill, additionally, prevents automakers from penalizing their dealers for alleged breaches of the franchise agreement, unless the part in question has first been filed as required by law.

HB 1549 prohibits franchisors from forcing dealers to provide access to consumer data when it violates federal privacy laws.

SB 1118 requires that for a hearing involving an auto dealer, reasonable efforts be made to hire hearing officers who have at least 5 years of experience as hearing officers in administrative hearings in Virginia; have telephone and email capability; and be active members of the Virginia State Bar. The bill further requires the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to report on the feasibility of hiring hearing officers with these qualifications. The bill also provides that the hearing process follow the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia on things like the discovery process and expert reports.

WANADA salutes VADA on a successful legislative session for Virginia dealers!

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