Add buying a car to the growing list of consumer transactions California voters could be asked to regulate during the 2014 election.
In a Wednesday morning conference call, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and the president of proponent Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety announce the filing of a proposed ballot measure that would impose new restrictions on automotive sales.
Car sale safety has already been a focus for Jackson, who last session authored a stalled bill that would bar dealers from selling or leasing cars that have been targeted by safety recalls unless they've repaired the cars.
"We should be able to rely on these vehicles as being safe, particularly when they're purchased from a car dealer," Jackson said during Wednesday's call.
The proposed ballot initiative includes similar provisions on selling calls under safety recalls. It would also tighten the rules around car purchases, prohibiting dealers from charging markups on loans and from altering contracts after a sale has been made, and eliminate the New Motor Vehicle Board's ability to overrule California Department of Motor Vehicle decisions disciplining dealers for consumer fraud.
"We need the DMV to be the cop on the beat for us," Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, said on Wednesday.
Protections against identity theft also play a role, including language prohibiting dealerships from hiring employees with past convictions for identity theft or forgery.
"The auto dealers hold the keys to the kingdom when it comes to identity theft" given their access to rich troves of personal data, Beth Givens of the San Diego-based Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said on the conference call.
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety spent just over $65,000 on lobbying during the 2013 legislative session, according to filings with the California Secretary of State. Shahan said the organization has so far funded the polling and legal work surrounding the proposed initiative but is still recruiting potential funders for a signature-gathering campaign. Voicing support during the conference call was Boysen Anderson of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
PHOTO: New Honda automobiles are displayed at Mel Rapton Honda on December 10, 2012 in Sacramento, Calif. The Sacramento Bee/Paul Kitagaki Jr.