New Hampshire legislation supported by the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) and addressing Advanced Drive Assistance System calibrations, died during a highly unusual coronavirus-related one-day Senate session on June 16. Technically, HB 1455, which the House passed on March 11 as well as a companion Senate bill, SB 513, which was still in committee, was “laid on the table”, or put aside; and in reality it will not be considered in this legislative session.
The New Hampshire Legislature had not met since mid-March due to coronavirus concerns, stalling legislative activity. With the clock ticking toward a June 30 adjournment, the Republican minority blocked the Democratic majority from altering the legislative calendar. The House returned for a session on June 10 at a hockey arena to accommodate social distancing concerns. The Senate, likewise, held a one-day session at an offsite larger space, where it considered 26 “omnibus” bills, packages of priority legislation that were pending in the legislature. The ADAS bill, as well as a window tinting bill, were not included for consideration in any of these legislative packages. The bills passed by the Senate will now face an up or down vote in the House prior to adjournment.
The House had passed HB 1455 on March 11 on a mostly partisan Democratic-supported vote of 216-120. The bill would have made it an unfair insurance practice for an insurer company, agent, or adjuster to knowingly fail to pay a claim to the claimant or repairer when the claimant’s vehicle was repaired in conformance with applicable manufacturer’s recommendations or specifications. It also included language regarding information that the repairer would be required to provide to consumers and the repairer’s right to use their own tools and equipment if they met or exceeded OEM recommendations. The House passed bill also added a floor amendment that established a rebuttable presumption that manufacturer recommendations for scans and calibrations are necessary for vehicle safety and for restoration of a vehicle to its pre-loss condition.
The AGSC had supported the legislation in letters sent in March to the bill sponsors.
Similar legislation had passed the New Hampshire legislature in 2019 but was vetoed by Governor Sununu in August of that year. The bill had passed with the strong support of the Auto Service Association of New Hampshire and was the only such bill to pass in a nationwide campaign by collision repair groups to enact this type of legislation.