The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) and the Ohio Auto and Truck Recyclers Association (OATRA) decried on May 15th the attempts by lobbyists for the insurance industry to diminish the role played by Ohio automotive recycling companies.
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Ohio’s professional automotive recyclers came under fire during testimony on Tuesday in support of Ohio Senate Bill 273, a controversial piece of legislation that would enable unlicensed in-state and out-of-state buyers to purchase vehicles from Ohio salvage pools and auctions. One insurance industry lobbyist dismissed concerns expressed by Ohio state legislators that the bill could kill Ohio recycling jobs, asserting that “insurance jobs are better jobs for this state,” ARA said.
Representative Ross W. McGregor, who represents a district that is home to nine recycling operations, challenged that claim. Skeptical legislators also pointed out that they shouldn’t be forced to create more insurance jobs at the expense of putting automotive recyclers out of business. They also pushed back at the suggestion that automotive recyclers were less civic-minded than other Ohioans, and policymakers also noted that many Ohio communities that are currently home to automotive recycling operations are not likely to add insurance jobs today or in the future.
In recent weeks, the ARA and OATRA have expressed their concerns to Ohio legislators over the draft bill, which would threaten Ohio jobs, eliminate important consumer protections in the current law and allow unlicensed individuals to put unsafe vehicles back on Ohio’s highways, ARA said. Automotive recyclers in Ohio have engaged in discussions with their elected representatives, yet the bill was passed by the Ohio Senate despite various serious concerns expressed by the industry.
"In a reckless display showcasing how the insurance companies are prepared to shamelessly smear all companies who oppose the bill, their lobbyist used the occasion not to testify on the merits of a bill they support, but to instead deride the LKQ Corporation," ARA said.
OATRA President Jim McKinney called it “a cheap political trick that aimed to hijack the hearing into a referendum on a single company and distract from the most important and unavoidable fact, which is that this bill will kill Ohio jobs.” CEO Michael E. Wilson stated: “The discussion of this bill should not be about attempts to vilify a single company when there are nearly 800 recyclers in the state of Ohio who are united in their opposition to a bill that directly threatens their industry. That is an insult to the local Ohio companies, many of which are second-, third- and fourth-generation shops that account for over 93 percent of the recycling business in the state.”
The ARA and OATRA will continue to reach out to Ohio’s lawmakers to raise their concerns about the bill. The groups plan to emphasize the far-reaching negative impacts that the legislation will have on Ohio’s recyclers, the general public and the environment, ARA said.
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