Rental car bill stalls, alcohol sale bill moves forward

August 15, 2011 11:34:20 PM PDT
A bill that would ban the rental of recalled cars has stalled in the state Senate, but another consumer protection bill moved forward Monday.

Opposition from the rental car industry comes from its belief that not all recalls justify removing a car from the road. Federal regulators, however, disagree.

"It's eminently clear, indisputably clear that not all recalls are created equally," Enterprise Holdings spokesperson Gene Urban said at a hearing back in June.

Federal regulators say all recalls should be fixed promptly. But Enterprise, which also owns National and Alamo, called for some flexibility to allow them to keep renting out recalled cars while they schedule repairs.

"Must you immediately ground the entire fleet, needlessly disrupting travel, of businesses, consumers, vacationers?" Urban asked.

Monday, Assm. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, pulled his bill from an important committee vote. A spokesperson says the bill does not have enough support in the senate right now to pass. Monning called the industry's concern faulty.

"The manufacturer of the vehicle cannot sell that vehicle when its subject to the safety recall, but the rental agency can rent it," Monning said.

Attention now turns to the U.S. Senate, where New York Sen. Charles Schumer, D- New York, has proposed a similar federal law. That bill could be voted on in the fall.

Meanwhile, a bill that would ban the sale of alcohol using self checkout scanners passed Senate appropriations Monday.

An undercover 7 On Your Side investigation this past spring revealed grocers do not always check for IDs at these scanners and that minors have found ways to cheat the system.

"AB 183 simply requires that alcohol be purchased through a sales clerk and not at a self checkout machine, similar to cigarettes, spray paint, and pseudoephedrine products," Assm. Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, said.

"We think in this era of very scarce resources, it's much more effective for the state of California to be spending its scarce dollars in places where you really would be able to make an impact," California Grocers Association spokesperson Keri Askey Bailey said.

If the bill passes on the Senate floor, it will go to the governor for his signature.


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