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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A hot topic House bill regarding electric vehicles in Oklahoma unanimously passed committee on Wednesday.

HB3994, an over 70 page bill, both updates and changes part of existing Oklahoma statute in regards to the automobile industry.

There has been strong opposition to the bill, including from EV manufacturer, Tesla. The company even wrote a piece for their website urging Oklahomans to contact lawmakers, asking them to vote ‘no’ on the bill.

The main concern from opponents is that part of the bill’s language could be interpreted as saying that EV service centers would be done away with, thus making Oklahoma electric car owners have to travel out of state to get their vehicle serviced. However, HB3994’s author, Representative Mike Dobrinski, R-District 59, said that is not the case.

“Nobody on this end of the building and someone like myself who’s been in business for 33 years would support shutting down two service facilities in our major metropolitan areas, but what the introduced language of this bill has done has brought everyone to the table to have a conversation that is not easy, that will force us to find a way to license them and to provide consumer protections that Tesla dealers today don’t even think that they need,” said Rep. Dobrinski. 

Rep. Dobrinski introduced Curtis Hayes, a member of the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission, to further explain how the language of HB3994 would ensure EV manufacturers are regulated by the Motor Vehicle Commission.

“Regulation would allow the consumers of Oklahoma have recourse to a state agency if they have issues. Right now there is currently nothing that the Motor Vehicle Commission can do if a consumer brings a complaint about, and the only EV manufacturer we’re talking about is Tesla,” said Hayes. “All the legacy OEMs that make EV vehicles work through the franchise dealer system. So we are working through that. It’s a very complicated issue, because it has ramifications throughout the entire law dealing with motor vehicle franchise dealers, and so I can just say that from the Motor Vehicle Commission and from working with Representative Dobrinksi and the Oklahoma Auto Dealers Association, we are not trying to preclude consumers and residents of the state of Oklahoma from getting their car serviced in Oklahoma.”

Rep. Dobrinski said there is still much work to be done on HB3994 and that he is willing to work with fellow lawmakers to make necessary changes.

“This particular bill is far from the finished product, and we made a lot of progress with the PCS yesterday, but I pledge to you to continue working,” said Rep. Dobrinski. “I had a meeting a couple of weeks back with many members of industry, both are legacy manufacturers as well as the new EV manufacturers that have expressed that concern. Having shared this story with House leadership, and it’s a very difficult issue to work forward. What we’re looking to accomplish here is that everyone is regulated going forward, and specifically, right now in Oklahoma, direct shippers are not.”

HB3994 passed out of the House Business and Commerce committee on Wednesday with a vote of 11-0. It will now advance to the House floor.