Hawaii: CEA and MERA Weigh In

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The Consumer Electronics Assn. (CEA) said it is working with lobbyists in Hawaii to oppose a bill that would ban the sale of many car audio aftermarket products in Hawaii.

Bill would ban sale of car stereoThe CEA said it will send testimony and a letter to the Hawaii State House Committee scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill HB 1178 on Wednesday morning.

The Mobile Electronics Retailers Association (MERA) said the bill—that would ban the sale or use of any aftermarket speaker over 6.5 inches or over 100 watts—inhibits fair trade as the law selectively targets aftermarket speakers but permits the use of any OEM speaker, no matter the size.

MERA’s executive director Chris Cook said, “MERA is against any bill or law that would inhibit the sale of mobile electronics products, especially when an unfair advantage is given to an auto maker to sell subwoofers and limited in the aftermarket. This inhibits fair trade and should not be allowed.” MERA is working with the CEA and contact its members to actively oppose the bill.

One supplier said that the CEA is concerned the law would set a precedent that would extend beyond Hawaii.

Michael Petricone, CEA’s senior VP of government affairs said, “This is ill-considered legislation that will penalize Hawaiian consumers and kill Hawaiian jobs. It is remarkable that the Hawaiian legislature is even considering a bill that will eliminate retailer and installer positions in the midst of the worst economy in recent history.”

Local retailers are also mobilizing and many plan to attend the hearing. Bill Murakami, owner of Progressive Auto Sounds, Aiea, Hawaii said he has received dozens of emails from local shops. Many are leaving their stores attended by wives or kids or worse yet, installers (kidding…joke) to attend the hearing tomorrow.

Industry members say the bill—that would also ban any aftermarket system with more than 4 speakers—would put many dealers out of business.

Kenwood Electronics said it is preparing a letter to the committee and has given its reps and retailers talking points to complain against the bill. It noted that the bill would reduce the state’s tax base by killing jobs. Kenwood has 11 dealers with 20 storefronts in the state.

Even if the bill is approved by the Transportation Committee tomorrow, it still must go before the full state House and Senate to become law. Industry members noted however, that it is easier to kill a bill in committee before it goes to a vote before the full legislature.

CEA’s Pettricone added, “If some small minority of people are abusing their consumer electronics there are ways to deal with that – noise ordinances or breach of the peace offenses. But a law that would ban an entire class of otherwise legal technology devices is unprecedented and unnecessary. It is killing a fly with a cannon, and the cannonball will hit Hawaiian consumers and employees.”

Industry members who wish to address the Hawaii House Transportation Committee in opposition to the bill should email today [email protected]

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. I like how the word lobbyist was used, after it was mentioned in the original news story…

    Seriously? Is this industry that far gone? or is this industry just ran by a bunch of people who were installers, salesman, and small business owners with no corporate ties… no offense Keith as this isn’t directed to you or Kenwood…

    But with a court date fast approaching, you are going to get lobbyist? LOL How about, go online, search yellow pages Hawaii, Lawyers, call, retain… file motions for continuation to by time 6 months to a year from now… then you can do the crock pot lobbyist idea. Oh wait… maybe we can get the 12v initiative… never mind

  2. February 8, 2011

    House of Representatives
    Twenty-Sixth Legislature, 2011
    State of Hawaii

    To Whom It May Concern,

    We at Kenwood USA Corporation received a copy of H.B.1178 (relating to vehicle audio equipment) and are extremely concerned over the restrictions on the installation of aftermarket car audio products outlined in the bill. While the intentions of the bill might be to limit the disruptive operation of such aftermarket equipment by a small minority of users, we believe the negative consequences of the bill would be excessive.

    The arbitrary restrictions placed on the installation of aftermarket car audio products at a time of economic recession are puzzling given the fact that most car audio merchants are small business entrepreneurs employing hundreds of tax-paying Hawaii citizens. Enforcement of this bill will put dozens of entrepreneurs out of business in a discriminatory manner at a time where state government should be supporting the preservation of jobs.

    Aftermarket car audio products are legally available for purchase by consumers, a vast majority of which use these products in a responsible and legal manner. H.B.1178 effectively bans an entire category of legally available aftermarket product and destroys the livelihoods of people who have committed no crime. If the Hawaii House of Representatives wishes to curb excessive noise from car audio systems, it can encourage the enforcement of existing noise abatement statutes instead of penalizing all Hawaii consumers for the bad behavior of a relative few.

    We strongly encourage the rejection of H.B.1178. Thank you for your attention.


    Keith Lehmann
    Senior Vice President, Consumer Electronics Sector

  3. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Many years ago it occurred to me that “legislature types” do not respond well to being slapped, especially in public. Toward that end I have written to the Hawaii House of Representatives with tried and historically quite acceptable alternative language that will help the legislature achieve its goal of reducing the unwanted level of sound with which some of our more enthusiastic consumers like to announce their presence. At the same time this language does not stifel commerce or make music in the car illegal.

    I am quite warmed with the vocal response of some of our industry’s more promenent members and hope that more will add their voice.

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro

  4. MEMO
    To: Hawaii House Transportation Committee
    Subject: Bill HB 1178

    Esteemed fellow Americans

    As the president of the International Auto Sound Challenge Association with affiliation in 28 countries and as the owner of a mobile electronics retail facility in business for over 32 years, I adamantly oppose this bill.

    It is outrageous to hear of such a bill brought before the House that would limit or, worse yet, eliminate jobs whether during an economic recession or not. Furthermore, it is contemptible that the prejudice exists that would allow an automobile manufacturer or car dealership to sell and/or install the proposed banned equipment thus restricting fair trade practices by purveyors in the Mobile Electronics Trade.

    It seems clear that the motivation behind this bill is to curtail the disturbance of the peace by offenders that may play their auto sound systems much too loud for local ordinances. To that end, we would suggest law enforcement agents due diligence upholding those laws. To limit the choices of consumers and restrict retailers from their livelihoods is blatantly unfair, unbelievable and un-American.

    Paul Papadeas, President
    IASCA Worldwide Inc.
    Daytona Beach Florida

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