Last year New Jersey riled up electric car enthusiasts and free market backers by banning the direct sale of the Tesla Model S, which it had previously allowed under a tenuous agreement. Tesla has since filed suit to get its right to sell cars reinstated, though a New Jersey Senate subcommittee has taken the first step towards legalizing direct sales in the Garden State.
The New Jersey State Senate Commerce Committee, which consists of two Republicans and four Democrats, unanimously agreed to pass the Tesla sales bill on to the full Senate for a vote, reports Bloomberg. The bill originated back in June 2014, but at idle until the new session of the state congress got underway.
Should the bill pass in both the Senate and House of Representatives, it could still face a veto from Governor Chris Christie, who has demonstrated has willingness to sell out his own state to entrenched interests. New Jersey’s car dealer association has a long-standing relationship with plenty of powerful politicians, and they aren’t about to give up without a fight.
Another scenario could see onerous restrictions placed on Tesla store numbers and locations, such as the concessions Connecticut is forcing on the electric automaker. Even then, the local car dealers aren’t likely to be happy until Tesla is forced to adopt a franchise model. “Free market” Republicans in Utah have also voted to keep Tesla out, joining a growing list of (mostly) red states where selling a Tesla is as illegal as selling weed.
Just legalize it, man.