Legislative Landscape U.S. February 2020


In this episode of the Legislative Landscape, Eric Wareham, VP of Government Affairs for WEDA provides updates and important information on Right to Repair, TERP Tax, and escort vehicles.

Sponsored by: West Texas National Bank 


Right to Repair Bills Defeated in Washington, Idaho, and Oklahoma

The takeaway from February is that persistent hard work pays off. Right to Repair legislation is now killed for this year in Washington, Oklahoma, and Idaho. Tough battles were fought in each state and early action on the part of WEDA with a big dose of engagement from dealers at the statehouse brought us a successful outcome in each state. We now turn our sights on Right to Repair legislation in Missouri where we are seeking a similar result.

Right to Repair Roundup

This is Eric Wareham, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Western Equipment dealers Association and welcome to the legislative landscape. Let’s begin with the Right to Repair Roundup. It has been a very successful month for dealers in the legislative arena on this topic and we start with Washington.

In Washington state, legislation was carried over from last year that included exemption language for non-road equipment including farm equipment. The focus there remains on consumer electronics and the issue of E-waste from disposal of electronic devices. The bill in Washington did not get out of committee in time before the deadline and is done for the year. We expect any future iteration of the bill in Washington to continue to include our exemption language.

Turning to Oklahoma, a freshman republican legislator introduced a right to repair bill without consultation from industry. The bill originally related to anything with an electronic component, so just about everything made these days. The pushback was swift from all sectors of industry and the bill sponsor did not realize his bill affected farm equipment. The bill sponsor quickly stated that he wants no part of affecting farm equipment and quickly agreed to include our exemption language. Strong dealer engagement there affirmed that position. The state chamber is vigorously opposing the legislation and plans on making an example of it as the type of bad legislation that is dangerous to attracting business to the State of Oklahoma.

Despite early efforts to work with the farm bureau, a pitched battle ensued in Idaho that culminated in a tense and dramatic hearing on the Right to Repair bill. As you will recall, WEDA and manufacturers held two dealer demonstrations in Idaho in the fall and invited farm bureau to participate. The goal of that was to present the industry commitment and gain feedback from the farm bureau to see if the industry commitment met their needs. We received no feedback over the last several months and were surprised that Idaho Farm Bureau supported Right to Repair legislation instead of working in partnership with dealers on manufacturers on issues such as workforce development and rural broadband.

Strong arguments were made in committee about the unconstitutionality of the right to repair legislation and the harm it would do to the industry without providing anything that would increase uptime for farmers.  Nonetheless, Farm Bureau argued for the bill and attempted to make the argument that dealers are price gouging farmers for diagnostics and repair. Testimony from an Idaho dealer refuted those claims very effectively and expanded on how dealers are working to maximize uptime availability to support their customers.

In the end, WEDA prevailed on the merits and succeeded in killing the Idaho Right to Repair legislation for this session. It’s unclear at this point whether legislation will be reintroduced next year.


In other news, we were alerted by Texas dealers that audits have revealed the TERP tax is being analyzed. Otherwise known as the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, the TERP tax applies to off-raod heavy duty diesel equipment. As of 2015, the TERP tax requires a 1.5 percent surcharge on the sale, lease or rent of equipment over 50 horsepower. Equipment that is exempt under the agricultural use exemption is also exempt from the TERP tax, along with other kinds of equipment. However, the Texas Comptroller is looking for sales and leases of equipment that is not covered under an exemption. There is more information about this at the Texas Comptroller’s website: https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/motor-vehicle/terp-offroad.php

Escort Vehicles

To round out the podcast, we turn to Kansas where rules a new law became effective this year that requires registration and training of escort vehicle drivers. Even though the law is effective right now, the Department of Transportation has yet to finalize rules that clarify what the requirements are. WEDA is working with the state agency and private partners to ensure that exemptions for farm equipment dealers are included in the final rulemaking. A regulatory went out to Kansas dealers earlier this month that shares more specific information about the requirement and the exemptions. We will provide updates to that once we get more information.

That will do it for this edition of legislative landscape. Be sure to contact the association with any comments or suggestions you have about this podcast or anything relating to legislative or regulatory issues you may be facing. Thanks for tuning in.

Please contact Eric Wareham, Vice President of Government Affairs for WEDA, at ewareham@westerneda.com or 503.881.4186 for questions.

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