Tire Industry Association 2020 Legislative Update: COVID Relief & More

TIA Gives Legislative Update at Honors Ceremony

Tire registration, COVID-19 relief and infrastructure funding were key issues highlighted on TIA's radar.

The Tire Industry Association‘s Roy Littlefield III, CEO, and Roy Littlefield IV, director of government affairs, updated TIA members on key legislative issues that the organization is following for its members during Monday’s Tire Industry Honors Ceremony.

Issues the association is advocating for on behalf of tire dealers include tire registration, infrastructure funding and COVID-19 relief.

  • Tire registration: Littlefield III said a tire registration and recall task force has been established between the U.S Tire Manufacturers Association and TIA. Issues to be discussed include fines for failing to register tires, a clear recognition of third party designees and repository guidelines. For manufacturers, Littlefield III noted that some manufacturers are working on technology to identify tires through electronic IDs and explore associated costs. He said currently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is not auditing or penalizing any dealers for registration violations.
  • Infrastructure funding: Littlefield III said funding of the $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that passed the House in July is also on TIA’s radar and could include an increase on truck parts, including tires, depending on who wins the upcoming election.
  • Estate tax: TIA believes dealers should be able to pass along their business to their children without additional fines or taxes, Littlefield said. He said if President Donald Trump wins the election, it would create an opening to potentially repeal the estate tax. If former Vice President Joe Biden wins, TIA’s efforts would focus on preventing an increase in the estate tax.
  • FTC petition: Littlefield III also reported that TIA along with other automotive aftermarket organizations, filed a grievance with the Federal Trade Commission against General Motors, concerning a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act violation. The grievance claims GM discouraged the use of non-OEM parts without information on the quality of them. Littlefield said GM also claimed that repair work on parts under warranty could only be done by GM or a qualified authorized tire dealer, however, the company fails to define what an “authorized” dealer is.

At the state level, Littlefield III said TIA is also monitoring two significant state legislative issues, including the Massachusetts Right-to-Repair Act, which appears on this year’s ballot, and various crumb rubber bills.

He said a “yes” vote on the Right-to-Repair ballot measure would require automakers that sell vehicles with telematics in the state to equip them with an open data platform so that vehicle owners and independent repair facilities can gain access to mechanical data and run diagnostics. Massachusetts first to passed the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair in 2012 (with 86% support). The initial measure required manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair its vehicles, yet it excluded telematics data.

TIA is working with state association in opposing crumb rubber bills, many of which would declare crumb rubber made from scrap tires and used in athletic fields and playgrounds as “hazardous” material. Littlefield said 48 states currently have scrap tire funds, which has reduced tire stockpiles nationwide. The passage of a crumb rubber bill would put a financial burden on the industry, and TIA staff is working with state associations to fight these initiatives as they arise at the state level.

Although legislators did not reach an agreement on a coronavirus relief package before the election, TIA continues to participate in talks in Washington update membership on what bills are circulating and how dealers would benefit from them, Littlefield IV reported.

He also said TIA continues to monitor tariff activity, which the association remains neutral on with members on both sides of the issue. He said whoever wins the election will determine the course of tariff negotiations for the next four years.

Littlefield IV also said that with TIA’s 100th-anniversary celebration plans moved to 2021, its Federal Lobby that will run in conjunction with its Environmental Summit is scheduled to take place in September next year. At next year’s Global Tire Expo — Powered by TIA, the organization will host an International Issue Summit, focusing on resolutions to issues across the global tire industry.

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