The 2020 General Assembly convened earlier this month – which means your VADA team is heavily involved with legislation that could have an impact on your business.
Again, it’s important to note that every Senator and Delegate was elected in November. In total, we’re talking 140 legislators across both houses of the General Assembly. Many of these individuals are new to office, with about half of the House of Delegates serving four years or fewer.
As an extension of that, both the Senate and House Transportation Committees feature many new members. In the House alone, 36 percent of the 22 committee members are new; three of those are new to the General Assembly.
We’re working quickly to forge relationships with these recently elected officials. Even with the veteran legislators who are new to these committees, we’re working to educate key lawmakers on issues that are important to our dealer members.
Change Can Be Good
Most of you already know that we have had a turnover of power, with the Democrats now controlling both the Senate and House of Delegates. That means change, but change is not a bad thing. Change is exciting. In my 32 years working with VADA and the General Assembly, I know from firsthand experience that change creates opportunity.
What must remain consistent, however, is our advocacy for pro-business issues that don’t necessarily follow strict party lines.
Already in this 2020 session, we’ve identified several critical pieces of proposed legislation for dealers:
- The elimination of annual vehicle safety inspections.
- Peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, electric vehicle rebates and carbon emissions.
- Revisions with employer requirements and worker’s compensation.
Any changes or new laws in these areas could dramatically alter how you do business. Should they be passed by the legislature and signed into law, you may see the impact on your bottom line. That’s why we constantly work the halls of the General Assembly on your behalf – and encourage you to participate in Dealer Day at the Capitol – to inform legislators of how policy can affect you and the communities you serve.
Dealer Day at the Capitol
Your VADA team remains your team on the ground day in and day out at the General Assembly, working to ensure that your voice is represented on critical issues. But, as business leaders, you also have an obligation to engage directly with legislators.
Our annual Dealer Day at the Capitol makes it easy for you to meet one-on-one with lawmakers. This year’s event will occur Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. We’ll meet as a group at the Omni Richmond Hotel for lunch and a briefing on pending legislation and our position. Then, we’ll head in groups to Capitol Square and bring our collective voice to key Senators and Delegates.
Visiting legislators – and writing letters or emails, when asked – should be a priority for every dealer. You need to make the time and take the interest now, because not participating in this process is a risk to your business. Members of the General Assembly need to understand what is important to you – and why these issues matter to you, your employees and your customers.
Speak Up Now
Communication is critical when regulatory changes and new laws have a potential impact on your day-to-day business and long-term prosperity. If you can’t make it for Dealer Day but have another day to visit the Capitol during this session, let us know; our team can schedule time and join you in visiting key legislators.
For Dealer Day, what is most important is participation from every dealership. This year, if you, as dealer principal, can’t make it, then send your director of fixed operations, who can speak directly to what happens when your technicians inspect vehicles, or another senior leader in your organization. We know how important these annual inspections are to the safe operation of every vehicle on Virginia’s roads and highways. With that issue and others, having a representative from your store(s) is paramount.
Why? Simply, no one can tell that story better than you. In fact, on the topic of safety inspections, we encourage you to bring your entire certified inspection team. Encourage them to wear their uniforms and explain every step in the inspection and how that makes every vehicle safer. This is how we are going to change opinions and votes.
In This Issue
Every month, VADA News shares important information that can help you better manage your business. Be sure to read some of these key articles:
- Mike Suttle will take over for Bruce Farrell as VADA’s representative to NADA during next month’s convention.
- Be sure to sign up for automatic downloads of our monthly podcast, which will look at legislative issues during the 2020 session.
- Pay plans detail how you’re paying your employees. We provide overall guidance and a checklist for developing effective plans – particularly in the #MeToo era.
- Northwood University will present the Dealer Education Award to Dennis Ellmer, owner and president of Priority Automotive in Chesapeake, next month.
- W.B. Mason has recently acquired R&R Office Solutions, which means you now have access to even more products from an important Partner Program.