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Contact senators on bill to revamp Franchise Act

April 7, 2017
The legislative clock is winding down on most of the bills before the Illinois General Assembly this session that would impact the state’s dealerships.
Legislators face an April 28 deadline to move bills out of the chamber in which they originated, and the lawmakers are scheduled to meet just five more days until then. Of the 13 bills from this session considered to be impactful for dealers, only one has moved to the second chamber. House Bill 733, now before the Senate, would prohibit test drives when the driver’s view is obstructed by signs or other paperwork on the windows.
Among the bills to watch, Senate Bill 1687 would amend the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act in several ways: It would strengthen the direct sales language, which lobbyists for Tesla are trying to dismantle; and it would prohibit manufacturers from requiring their dealers to remodel their facilities twice within 10 years. It also would halt the manufacturer from exercising a right to buy the franchise from a selling dealer unless several steps are taken.
Dealers should reach out to their senators and urge them to support SB 1687.
Other notable bills include Sen. Jim Oberweis’s perennial attempt to open dealerships to Sunday sales and another regarding test drives. This marks the fourth time since he became an Illinois state senator in 2013 that Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, is attempting to tinker with dealership operating days.
The latest legislation, Senate Bill 2037, would permit a licensed dealer to operate any six days of the week of his choosing. None of the bills Oberweis crafted to permit Sunday operations have been voted upon; they received subject matter hearings only.
The Illinois blue law, which took effect in 1984, prohibits new- and used-vehicle sales on Sundays, and few dealers support changing the law. Instead, they favor giving employees that day off, especially since banks are not able to finance vehicles on Sundays.
Lifting the ban on Sunday sales also would increase dealership costs without increasing sales, which could lead to higher prices for consumers.
Senate Bill 1755 provides that dealers make a record of test drives. Any moving violations, tickets and accidents would be the fault of the permitted user driving a dealer’s vehicle.