By stiffening Tesla, Texas lawmakers prove they don’t really value freedom
The Texas legislative session is coming to an end, and a bill that would have allowed Tesla (and other electric vehicle manufacturers) to sell vehicles directly in the state has died in committee. This means Tesla will be in the absurd position of having to ship Texas-made vehicles out of state and then send them back to Texas for in-state buyers. Texas could have a special session but have some silly things to focus on instead of fixing this mess. The things they had time to go through show that the Texas legislature doesn’t really value freedom the way Republicans claim.
In many states, the law requires automakers to sell their vehicles through independent dealerships instead of selling vehicles directly to buyers. Dealer associations and other apologists claim this is done to keep consumers from getting ripped off and to provide better service, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a car buyer who accepts this review. Buying a car from a dealership is one of the most hated buying experiences around.
Some states have relaxed the law to allow Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers to sell directly to customers, and others have allowed very limited exceptions to the law so that Tesla can “show” vehicles instead of. sell them, and authorize service centers without sales. Other states, like New Mexico, continue to shut down direct selling companies like Tesla entirely, not allowing any presence in the state other than charging stations. This, of course, can make things expensive and difficult for people living in these states.
Tesla would certainly appreciate changing the law, so that it doesn’t have to be!
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 27, 2021
Texas almost solved this problem
Texas had a bill under consideration that would have lifted those restrictions and allowed Tesla to deliver vehicles directly to customers in Texas, but the bill got stuck in commission and no longer stands a chance. passed before the end of the 2021 legislative session. Committees and legislative bodies were just too busy with other things they felt were more important. (Editor’s note: and this isn’t the first year this has happened.)
Unlike most states, Texas does not hold a regular legislative session every year. They hold a session from mid-January until the end of May, and all bills passed enter into force 91 days later (end of August or beginning of September). Once a session is over, no more laws can be made or changed until two years later, unless the governor orders an extraordinary session. Special sessions can be ordered by the state governor, but they last only 30 days and are limited to matters that the governor specifies in the proclamation of a special session.
And a special session?
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has called on the governor to open a special session, but it appears Texas Republicans have no plans to consider Bill Tesla.
Request @GregAbbott_TX call a june #SpecialSession today to pass # SB29 to save girls’ sport, # SB10 end taxpayer-funded lobbying and # SB12 to stop the censorship of social networks. The TxHouse killed those conservative bills that the majority of Texans from both parties support. #txlege
– Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 26, 2021
He calls for the session to focus on finding ways to discriminate against transgender children, restrict the rights of social media companies, and curtail the free speech of those lobbying the legislature. These “conservative” bills are what Republicans in Texas like and it shows that their values are all mixed up.
Texas Legislature Shows Us It Doesn’t Stand Up For Freedom
The Texas legislature had nearly four months to pass the bills through the State House and State Senate. Let’s take a look at the things they chose to do around this time, so we can see what was so important that they couldn’t pass the bill that would have expanded motoring freedom in Texas!
I was going to use the Legislative Assembly website, but Dan Patrick’s Twitter was a great place to see the bills they were most proud to have passed.
# SB8, the Heartbeat Bill, was enacted, making it illegal to perform an abortion after a child’s heartbeat is detected in the womb.
– Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) May 19, 2021
Despite the fact that restrictive abortion measures have always been a loser in the courts, Republicans in Texas have wasted legislative time sending a massive virtue signal (and, yes, the Conservatives are masters at signaling virtue. ). Whatever your personal feelings about it (mine don’t fit Republicans or Democrats), spending precious time in lawmakers to see if the Supreme Court votes their way this time around was a waste.
– Office of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) May 25, 2021
The “Star Spangled Banner Protection Act” requires that the national anthem be played at any event receiving any type of public funding. Is the event taking place in a stadium that has received public support for construction? You better play the song ‘Murca, or it’s going to be hell to pay.
# SB13 – Protection of oil and gas investments – by @SenatorBirdwell & passed by the Texas Senate, it is clear that we support both our workers in the oil and gas industry and these job-creating companies. #txlege pic.twitter.com/Y6bt9QMajD
– Office of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) April 28, 2021
Don’t worry, all the favors the oil and gas industry needs are quickly counted in Texas. It prohibits the state from doing business with any entity boycotting oil and gas companies, meaning that in some cases, public funds will go to suppliers who are not the best supplier or who offer the lowest price. . But there is nothing wrong with screwing up taxpayers as long as they are doing it for these poor and poor oil companies.
You will notice that none of the special session priorities, nor the bills that Texas Republicans are most proud of, do anything to increase freedom in Texas. They want to restrict the ability of transgender children to play sports. They want to restrict social media businesses. They want to restrict abortion. They want to force sports teams to play the national anthem.
Does all of this seem like freedom to you? Deceased soldiers and law enforcement (also a big theme on Dan Patrick’s Twitter) didn’t die for it, Dan.
Before anyone talks about it, yes, I’m very familiar with HB 1927, which (agree or disagree) is an act that strengthens the freedom to do things in the state:
# HB1927 Head towards @GovAbbottoffice! This historic bill is one of the strongest # 2A the bills on rights have been adopted. It confirms our commitment to protect the rights of gun owners and the safety of those responsible for law enforcement.#txlege pic.twitter.com/dHkIb1jn2m
– Office of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (@LtGovTX) May 24, 2021
But let’s be realistic. Gun rights advocates have been pushing for this for nearly two decades, and Texas (a state with a very pro gun-friendly reputation) has had lawmakers who performed tricky procedural maneuvers, found excuses. and scuttled constitutional bills over and over again while other Red States have sailed the same bill through their legislatures. Dozens of other states passed this law before Texas, and none of them had resistance from Republicans like what was encountered in Texas.
Even this time around, in 2021, the Texas Republicans attempted to use procedural tactics to kill the bill and only passed it at the last minute as a large number of people called them and harassed. Faced with the prospect of becoming a national embarrassment among Republicans, they reluctantly let the bill get to the governor’s office.
Agree or disagree with the law (this is not the purpose of this article at all and it is not an area of interest for CleanTechnica, so don’t waste time commenting on the merits of HB 1927), it shows that even when a chance arises to improve freedom on something Republicans agree with Democrats on, getting them to pass even this freedom bill is like pulling their teeth.
Given these perverted priorities, we shouldn’t be surprised that Republicans in Texas can’t do the right thing for Tesla and their customers. Freedom and liberty are things people like Dan Patrick like to whine about, but when it comes to proving they’re for liberty, they’re all excuses.
Image presented by Tesla, Jennifer Sensiba