Amended 'Tesla' bill passes Ind. House committee, grandfathers Tesla

Posted at 10:43 AM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 15:52:36-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- An amended version of Indiana's 'Tesla' bill passed the House Committee on Roads and Transportation Thursday morning.

House Bill 1592 would've allowed Tesla to sell 1,000 cars per year for the next two years, then stop selling in Indiana. It was written by Rep. Ed Soliday (R-04).

Soliday said the amendment "tried to respect what [Tesla] has been able to do." It would still prohibit vehicle manufacturers from selling directly to the public, but also grandfather Tesla to the old system.

"This makes certain that we are only allowing this kind of sales with people who have demonstrated consumer service and accountability," Soliday said.

Tesla is grandfathered in by a line that says vehicle manufacturers that registered before July 1, 2015 can sell directly.

"We don't think there are any others out there," Soliday said.

"Tesla applauds Chairman Ed Soliday and the members of the Roads and Transportation Committee for amending this legislation to allow Tesla to continue investing and growing in the Hoosier state," said a Tesla spokesperson.

The bill was first discussed Wednesday morning, with more than 20 members of the public coming and giving their thoughts on the it.

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A Tesla spokesperson was at Wednesday's meeting, saying the bill would "restrict Tesla's growth in the state," and have a "chilling effect, particularly in the sector of innovative companies." Many members of the committee then asked O'Connell questions about the company and how it operates in the state.

The CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne, Joe Jordan, was in support of the bill. He spoke to how much the local auto dealerships have helped non-profits and charities in his city.

In Thursday's meeting, Soliday admitted not everybody will be happy with the change, but he's tried to come to a compromise. 

"I think we have come to something that either everyone is equally happy or equally unhappy," he said. "But in any case, we have somewhat of an agreement."

The bill still has a long way to go to become law, but Indiana lawmakers made the first step on Thursday.