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.
The 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]