Volume 11, Issue 4 - July/August 2009

Legislation



MANUFACTURING REGULATIONS

California Air Resources Board Votes to Adopt New Auto Glass Regulations
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently voted to adopt regulations that will require new cars sold in California, starting in 2012, to have windows that reflect or absorb the sun’s heat-producing rays.

Under the terms of the regulation, over a three-year period starting in 2012, windows in new cars sold in California must prevent 45 percent of the sun’s total heat-producing energy from entering the car, with the windshield rejecting at least 50 percent of the sun’s energy. In 2016 car manufacturers will be required to install windows in new cars sold in California that prevent at least 60 percent of the sun’s heat-producing rays from entering the cars interior, or propose alternative technologies to achieve an equivalent result.

The regulation is designed to help keep cars cooler, increase their fuel efficiency and reduce global warming pollution, according to CARB.

“This is a common-sense and cost-effective measure that will help cool the cars we drive and fight global warming,” says CARB Chairperson Mary D. Nichols. “It represents the kind of innovative thinking we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles and steer our economy toward a low-carbon future.”

The initiative is part of the state’s efforts under its climate change legislation, AB 32, enacted in 2006, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

According to CARB spokesperson Stanley Young, the regulations also apply to replacement glass. He advised the CARB staff also is working to develop a labeling system so that glass parts that meet the regulations can be identified accordingly.

One proponent of the regulations has been Dick Heilman, former vice president of marketing and research and development for Pittsburgh Glass Works, who told AGRR magazine/ glassBYTEs.com™ that he believes the regulations are a win-win for both the consumer and the industry at large.

“… Some outside our industry may not call this a win, but the glass industry will have an opportunity to sell more value-added products,” Heilman says. “This regulation, especially if it goes nationwide, will stimulate innovation within the automotive glass industry and provide another level upon which competitors can differentiate themselves.”

Heilman’s optimism seems to be shared by shop owners and managers as well in California.

“Any energy policy implemented is worthwhile,” says Mitch Lee, logistics manager for Auto Glass of San Diego.


NATIONAL LEGISLATION

Federal Bill Would Establish National Insurance Regulations
The U.S. House of Representatives currently is considering a bill to establish a system of regulation and supervision for insurers, insurance agencies and insurance producers chartered or licensed under federal law. If passed, the goal of the system would be to ensure the stability and financial integrity of those insurers, agencies and producers in an effort to protect policyholders.

The bill, tagged the National Insurance Consumer Protection Act, was introduced by Congresswoman Melissa L. Bean (D-Ill.) and Congressman Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

“The events of 2008 show us that insurance reg[ulation] reform can no longer be postponed—it is needed now,” says Bean. “This bill will provide consumer protection and choice while eliminating barriers to industry competitiveness in the global market.”

“Never before has the federal government been so invested in an industry it has no regulatory authority over. Leaving the business of insurance regulation solely to the various state insurance commissioners, while the federal government provides taxpayer-funded assistance is simply irresponsible,” adds Royce.

Under the terms of the bill, states would maintain responsibility for regulating state-licensed insurers, agencies and producers.

The bill also would establish a single nationwide phone number through which consumers could share problems with their local federal or state insurance regulator. The Office of National Insurance also would have a physical office and staff in every state through its Division of Consumer Affairs.

At press time, the bill was under the consideration of the House Committee on Financial Services, the Committees on the Judiciary and the Energy and Commerce Committee.

This is one of two major Federal insurance regulation reform bills introduced this year. Another, the Insurance Industry Competition Act of 2009, would amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act as such that the Federal Trade Commission Act would be applicable to the business of insurance “to the extent that such business is not regulated by state law” (see related story in May/June AGRR, page 20).

AGRR
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