The Michigan House of Representatives is considering legislation requiring automotive glass companies in the state to be registered and regulated.
House Bill No. 5848, introduced Sept. 8 by Rep. Aaron Miller, gives the secretary of state the authority to “provide for the promulgation of rules” for the oversight of glass companies and to “prescribe remedies and penalties.”
Miller, the bill’s author, cited a need for more emphasis on safety as a reason for the bill.
“Given the changes in the industry and changes in the importance of the safety qualities of auto glass installation over the years, a case can definitely be made for higher standards in the market in the interest of public safety,” Miller said Monday. “This bill takes a step in that direction.”
The idea for the bill came from a local automotive glass replacement shop owner in Rep. Miller’s district, said Mike Wisniewski, a legislative aide to Miller.
The bill would require automotive glass companies to provide, among other things, the names and addresses of the owner’s “resident agents, officers, directors, or partners” in Michigan, as well as a report of their principal occupations for the previous five years, according to the bill.
This five-year period also applies to each person who owns more than 10 percent of the facility.
The registration application also includes copies of documents used by the applicant “ … in dealing with the public in the installation, repair, or replacement of auto glass,” according to the language in the bill.
This documentation includes documents requiring customer signatures, invoices, warranties, waivers, estimates, diagnoses or repairs.”
Facility owners would be require to ensure their facilities are open to inspection by the secretary of state’s office during “reasonable business hours,” according to the bill. The secretary’s office “may make periodic unannounced inspections of the premises.”
If passed, the bill would also require owners to maintain business records for at least five years.
Penalties for failure to comply could include a cease-and-desist order issued by the state and/or suspension of the owner’s registration. Owners in receipt of suspension may request a hearing.
Owners who knowingly violate the provisions of the bill, if passed, would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by jail time of not more than 90 days or a maximum fine of $1,000 or both, according to the bill. Subsequent convictions would warrant a fine of not more than $5,000 and imprisonment for no more than one year.
The state may take punitive action if the owner of a facility does one or more of the following:
(a) Makes an untrue statement of a material fact;
(b) Violates the provisions of the bill;
(c) Violates a condition of probation;
(d) Makes unnecessary repairs or replacement of automotive glass or repairs or replacement of automotive glass not authorized by the customer;
(e) Refuses to honor warranties made by the facility;
(f) Causes or allows a customer to sign a document in blank relating to the installation, repair, or replacement of automotive glass;
(g) Is prohibited by a court from engaging in the business of installing, repairing, or replacing automotive glass;
(h) Fails to comply with the terms of a final cease and desist order;
(i) Is convicted of a violation of the provisions of the bill;
(j) Uses a waiver of liability provision in an attempt to evade the provisions of the bill;
(k) Is convicted of specific violations of Michigan’s and other states’ penal codes.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform Sept. 8.