Power in numbers was demonstrated last Tuesday when the Missouri Collision Coalition (MCC) made up of Missouri associations AASP of Missouri, ASA MOKAN and SCRS MOKAN testified at the State Capitol in Jefferson City. Mo. in support of Senate Bill 775.
According to MCC lobbyist Bob Smith, when Senator LuAnn Ridgeway, vice chairperson of the Small Business, Insurance and Industrial Relations Committee, asked for all those in the room who supported the bill to stand, the whole room stood with the exception of a small handful of people.
The MCC felt S.B. 775 was of great benefit to vehicle owners’ freedom to select a repair facility of their choice. The meeting room at the Capitol was filled with collision repair professionals supporting SB775 to the point that there were no seats left for the opposition to the bill.
Testifying for the collision repairers were Ron Reiling and Steve White with AASP of Missouri, Ben Steinman with ASA and Smith. They defined for the committee what the exact concern was, how often it was happening and, most importantly, that S.B. 775 was a consumer- friendly bill which does not limit any company’s program but does assure the vehicle owner of free choice without interference. In addition, it provides certain rules for people who have not physically inspected the vehicle and attempt to change the original estimate.
With the overwhelming presence of people in support and very few in opposition, plus very positive testimony from Reiling, Steinman, White and Smith, the MCC felt there was a positive movement forward for the bill.
The bill is not out of committee yet and, with the session nearing completion time, this could be an important factor in whether it has to be brought back next year.
“If the bill doesn’t make it out of committee and through the process this year, it will be reintroduced in 2009,” said Smith. “I acknowledge the professionalism of the collision repairers and applaud their willingness to take time from their business to support this important piece of legislation.”
Smith noted the testimony from both those who support the bill and those who don’t was spirited but extremely professional. “That can do nothing but help the consumer and the collision industry,” he said.