Louisiana Auto Glass Repair and Replacement Licensing Bill Dead; Bill Creator Has No Plans to Resurrect It
glassBYTES.com™ has confirmed that the legislative efforts that would have required windshield installation technicians in Louisiana to be licensed has been dashed in the State Senate there. Wayne Turner, owner of Glass Technology in Many, La., put the bill together in the spring and had seen it through to assignment to a Senate subcommittee before industry action-and reaction-took its toll. (see Speaker Backs Bill to License 'Windshield Technicians' and Proposed Louisiana Licensing Bill Sets Repair, Replacement Requirements)
After the proposed legislation was introduced a number of groups worked with Turner to make modifications.
"I never had a chance," Turner said of the amendments he worked up and was ready to present to the Senate. "I was informed on Tuesday at 11 a.m. that the bill was being heard at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. I had less than 24 hours to prepare."
Upon arriving, Turner said he faced a number of representatives from Safelite, including a lawyer and lobbyists. Turner maintains that, with the amendments he had made to it, the bill could have passed into law, had he had more industry-wide support.
"The bill was wonderful. Yes, we had some problems, but with the amendments we had every bug worked out," Turner told glassBYTES.com in an interview from his office today. "It was perfect, but we never got a shot at it."
Turner explained that the driving effort behind the bill were his belief in industry-wide continuing education and installation; his ultimate goal became to make AGRSS compliance mandatory.
"Everything now is voluntary and there will eventually have to be a mandatory aspect for the industry …" he said.
Turner, who admits that the experience has left him bitter, remains disheartened by the experience.
"I had no idea there was such friction at the upper levels of the industry. There's no cohesion [among] the big groups. Everyone agrees there are things that need to be done, but no one can agree on how to do them …" he said. "Everyone talks the talk, but no one wants to walk the walk."
Turner maintains that licensing would be a step in the right direction for the industry in Louisiana, saying that he feels it would level the playing field and ensure that an installer or company that employs installers who currently cut corners would be under the microscope to do things the proper way.
With what he says is plenty of support on the local level, he had hoped to see the bill go further than it did; he finds the lack of support on the national level disappointing and has decided that he, himself, will not pursue the effort any more in the future.
"I've had my toes stomped enough. I did a lot of work and got noting but mud on my face. It was not a waste of time, but I lost a lot of hours from my family working on this. I won't be spending any more time on it," he said.
The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) was initially opposed to the bill's passage as first introduced. The group worked with Turner and others to remove regulation of the repair industry from the bill in a subsequent amendment that Turner said never made it to the floor.
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