California Small Business Leaders Meet in Sacramento to Lobby for Workers’ Comp, Auto Repair Reform

March 22, 2004

More than 200 leaders from the California automotive repair and service industry are gathering in Sacramento on Monday to lobby the legislature for reform of the state’s workers’ compensation and auto repair regulatory systems.

The Automotive Aftermarket Legislative Coalition (AALC), sponsors of the Legislative Day event, represents a broad spectrum of businesses that daily service the state’s 27 million cars and trucks. Its members include repair shop owners and managers, service technicians, parts manufacturers and suppliers, and educators. The automotive aftermarket employs almost 500,000 people in the state, with an estimated $30 billion in annual gross sales.

The assembled leaders will hear from several guests, including Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez (D-Norwalk), member of the Assembly Budget and Business & Professions Committees, and Guy Houston (R-Dublin), Vice Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. They will also hear from a panel of experts discussing how to reverse the “job killer” legislative program passed or proposed during the past several years.

“Our members are small business people who have seen the burden of workers’ comp premiums compete with that of regulatory compliance in a race to drive them out of business,” said Jennifer Zins, executive director of the Automotive Service Councils of California. “As the state’s economy struggles to get out of recession, our members want the legislature to work with Governor Schwarzenegger to free their businesses from unnecessary costs and regulations,” said Zins.

According to Marty Keller, executive director of the Automotive Repair Coalition, “Auto repair dealers – like all businesses, are suffering from the impact of out-of-control workers’ compensation premiums and the program’s lackadaisical approach to getting injured workers back on the job as soon as possible. We applaud the Governor’s no-nonsense approach to fixing a problem most other states seem to be able to deal with sensibly,” said Keller. “Our members and allies solidly support his efforts to liberate this state’s economic potential from the chains of this ineffective system.”

Participants will be meeting with their legislators in the afternoon to communicate not only the impact of the past several years’ legislation on their businesses, but their expectation that their legislators will follow the Governor’s lead to craft a sensible, balanced reform of workers’ comp.

The participants will also discuss reforms to the current automotive repair regulatory system and ways to dramatically strengthen the state’s career technical education programs.

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