Windshield Replacement Auto glass legislation pits two former House Speakers against each other
Rob Houglum Media Press Team Sunday, April 01, 2012
Auto glass legislation pits two previous House Speakers against one another
Two previous House Speakers turned lobbyists are facing off over a bill regulating auto glass, legislation that has escaped in depth attention among questionable debates on the death sentence, spirits rules and teacher tenure.
The bill creating the Speaker vs. Speaker clash is H.B. 5231. It would require insurance firms to provide a list of auto glass shops rather than referring a customer to one explicit shop.
Under current law, insurers are required to ask customers if they have a preferred glass shop and, if the client does not can suggest one.
This is a contentious issue because Safelite Solutions, a division of auto glass company Safelite, has contracts to administer auto glass claims for insurers. Therefore , when clients of customer insurance firms call to report a damaged windscreen, Safelite Solutions takes the call.
If a buyer has no preferred auto glass dealer, Safelite Solutions can refer clients to Safelite.
Richard Balducci, VP of Doyle, D'Amour & Balducci, represents Safelite and opposes the bill. A longtime representative of Newington in the lawmaking council who now lives in Deep River, Balducci served as Speaker 20 years ago.
James Amann represents the companies that support the bill, including Pay Less Auto Glass, The Whalley Glass Company, Plymouth Auto Glass, Auto Glass of New England Hamden and National Glass & Mirror, according to state ethics filings.
Pay Less Auto Glass was one of Amann's first clients, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
James Amann, who represented Milford, served as Speaker of the House from 2005 to 2008, immediately preceding current Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden.
Amann formed his lobbying firm, International Central authority Methods, after a $120,000 gig advising Donovan slid through. He didn't make a response to an email seeking comment.
Balducci related "when you strip the bill" the object is to get at Safelite, his client, because "they're the giant guy."
"What they need us to do is roughly to advertise for them," he explained . "They would like us to present a list. Our fellows would then become liable."
"We are endeavoring to continue our business as everybody can continue theirs," he said.
Balducci related both the state Insurance Dep. and insurance companies in Connecticut oppose the bill. "There's no complaint from patrons on this," he claimed.
"We help save consumers money by shortcutting the process," Balducci said.
Balducci asserted shoppers have the chance to go to any shop if they have got a preference, but if Safelite Solutions provides a list, it seems like an endorsement.
"We become responsible for making this recommendation," he claimed.
Balducci asserted he chuckled thinking about the bill as a competition between him and Amann or "Jimmy" as Balducci called him.
"He's a lobbyist. I'm a lobbyist," Balducci declared. "We're just like any person else up there. No large difference."
Tags: Windshield Replacement, Auto Glass Repair, Zip Glass Network, Windshield Repair, Auto Glass, Glass Repair Service.