Governor Rick Snyder, who has used his background as a businessman and entrepreneur to help sell himself to voters, today signed bipartisan legislation aimed at discouraging Tesla Motors from selling its electric cars directly through company stores.
According to Greg Gardner in the Free Press, House Bill 5606, sponsored by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, also prohibits auto manufacturers from dictating fees franchised dealers can charge customers. The legislation allows individual auto dealers to make the business decision whether to charge the transaction fee.
Snyder said direct sales of new vehicles is already banned in the state. This law will explicitly require all automakers to sell through a network of franchised dealers.
Earlier today General Motors urged the governor to sign the bill.
Snyder, who has boasted of making Michigan more hospitable for entrepreneurs, brings Michigan into a growing number of states that have raised obstacles to the California-based electric car company.
"This is an embarrassment for the State of Michigan and democracy," Daniel Crane, a law professor at the University of Michigan, told Gardner. " When no one was looking, the car dealers slipped language into the bill that would strengthen their case against Tesla. They went to the Governor's office and told his staff they needed this change in order to avoid the result in Massachusetts, where the Supreme Court ruled against them and in favor of Tesla."