SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The clock is ticking on the three bills aimed at regulating the state’s buy-here, pay-here dealers, which have until this Friday to gain passage before the end of the current legislative session.
One of the Assembly bills, AB 1447, could be heard this week after making it out of the committee level last week, while the lone Senate bill is headed to the Senate floor after stalling out for more than 10 days in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The third measure, which also was delayed in committee, also is set to be heard this week by the full Assembly.
Senate Bill 956, which was placed on suspense file on May 14, was passed by the appropriations committee on May 24 by a 5-2 vote. Proposed by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the measure lowers the cap on interest rates from 30 percent to 17.25 percent. It also provides more flexibility to vehicle owners if their vehicle is reposessed. “It’s on the Senate floor,” said Ray Sotero, spokesman for Sen. Lieu’s office. “To stay alive, it has to get out of its house of origin this week.”
Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Torrance)’s bill, AB 1447, made it out of committee on May 16 and was the closest to being heard by the full Assembly. Arianna Smith, legislative aid for the lawmaker, said the bill could be heard by the Assembly as early as today.
If passed, Feuer’s measure will require that BHPH dealers provide a limited warranty for all major vehicle components. The bill also stipulates that dealers disclose to customers and get their written consent when ignition shutdown technology is present in the vehicle sold.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed the third bill, AB 1534, last Friday by a 12-5 vote. Introduced by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), the legislation is now headed to the full Assembly for consideration. If passed, the bill will require that dealers display a window sticker with the reasonable market value on all vehicles for sale, among other mandates.
All three lawmakers introduced their measures in January following a series of articles published in the Los Angeles Times that were critical of BHPH dealers. The articles also gained the attention of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has said it will also be looking into the practices of BHPH dealers.