Associations Speak Out On Connecticut Auto Glass Bill

Associations and businesses have begun to speak out – in both opposition and support – of a new piece of auto glass legislation introduced in Connecticut’s General Assembly. The bill, also known as HB 5294, looks to “establish an auto glass temporary license to allow auto glass companies doing business in the state to perform auto glass work in the event of a state disaster or emergency.” The legislation would allow state auto glass companies to hire up to 15 unlicensed auto glass technicians on an emergency basis.

According to the proposed legislation, the temporary license “shall be utilized by an auto glass company that employs out-of-state employees who perform automotive glass work, and whose qualifications are substantially similar to, or higher than, those of this state.”

If passed, those who obtain an auto glass temporary license will have to provide a list on a form prescribed by the commissioner, stating each out-of-state employee that the auto glass company may utilize to perform work in this state in the event of a state disaster or emergency. The state’s own Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Examining Board (AGWFGEB) is among those opposing the legislation.

“The AGWFGEB is against HB 5294 because it appears to put profit over Connecticut driver’s safety,” the examining board said in a release regarding the new bill.

The Connecticut Glass Dealers Association (CGDA) also opposed the new bill and calls for legislators to vote against HB 5294.

“We ask that you vote against this bill, and put consumer safety first. We come to you asking for your leadership and action, and to call on Connecticut Glass Dealers Association (CGDA) with any questions or resources you may need to further understand this bill,” said Jessica Olander, CGDA executive director in a release.

“The prospect of Connecticut allowing auto glass companies to use unlicensed technicians who have not been vetted through the State’s normal procedures is of great concern to the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC). Our concern about safety rises exponentially when we consider how many cars now have Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that require complex recalibration during the replacement of auto glass. Connecticut has been a national leader in advancing safety with stringent training requirements and we hope that this legislation will be defeated,” said Seth Maiman, AGSC legislative and government affairs director.

If passed the bill looks to add the following to the state’s current auto glass law:

“The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may, in the event of a state disaster or emergency, and upon payment of an eighteen hundred dollar licensing fee, grant an annual auto glass temporary license to an auto glass company that employs individuals who perform automotive glass work and does business in the state,” a portion of the proposed bill reads.

Safelite Group testified in support of the bill.

“We find ourselves in a distinct and difficult position whenever there is a storm or severe weather event in this state. We cannot bring in other highly qualified technicians (who meet or exceed Connecticut’s licensure requirements) for a temporary period of time to help handle large backlogs of auto glass repair claims,” a portion of Safelite Group (Safelite) release reads. “The result is that Connecticut consumers are often waiting longer than necessary times to have service and have their claims addressed.”

According to its release, Safelite requested the bill allow other auto glass companies to purchase and hold temporary licenses.

“Simply stated, we are asking that any auto glass company be allowed to purchase and hold up to 15 licenses for up to 45 days,” a portion of Safelite’s release reads. These licenses will be used in cases of severe or unusual weather events. The licenses will be renewable annually and will be purchased and held by the auto glass company regardless of whether or not they are used in a calendar year.”

Olander stated the following reasons the CGDA is opposed to HB 5294:

  1. The Governor currently has the ability to lift any trade license requirements in a State of Emergency;
  2. Neither the Automotive Glass Work and Flat Glass Work Examining Board nor the Department of Consumer Protection complaint department has ever received a complaint after a State of Emergency. We have had quite a few State of Emergencies since the formation of the Board in 2000;
  3. By passing HB 5294, the General Assembly will be setting a negative precedent. No other trade under DCP has an automatic 14-day lift on the law for out of state technicians to invade our State;
  4. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) need to be calibrated before and after the installation of a windshield. Allowing unlicensed glass technicians to automatically enter the state after an emergency puts profits over consumer safety;
  5. The DCP complaint division has had issues with AG1 contractors not using AG2 journey persons (technicians) in the past. Having a surge of technicians entering the state for 14 days would put a burden on the Auto and Flat Glass Exam Board and the inspectors as well; and
  6. HB 5294 as written allows these technicians to enter and leave in 14 days, while glass companies have up to 30 days to notify the Department of Consumer Protection.

The examining board agrees with the CGDA’s opposition and adds if an emergency arises its board is willing to work with the Governor, the Department of Consumer Protection and the state’s licensed AG-1 contractors to “temporarily lift some or all of the rules.”

To view HB 5294’s complete text, click here.

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