Mississippi sucks. And when I say Mississippi sucks, I don’t say that as one of those “coastal elites” who’s never even visited the state. I say it as a North Carolina-born, Georgia-raised non-elite who grew up hating Mississippi and always will. Say what you will about Alabama, but at least they’re decent at football. Mississippi can’t even claim that. And now, the Mississippi state legislature has passed yet another law that confirms my distaste for the worst state in America, this time blocking direct sales of electric vehicles.
The Associated Press reports that the Mississippi state senate passed a bill on Thursday that requires electric automakers that want a brick-and-mortar store in the state to follow franchise dealership laws. The law now goes to Governor Tate Reeves’ desk for his signature. Currently, there isn’t any indication that he won’t sign it.
The bill also reportedly caused a little Republican infighting because they’re supposed to be the party of small government, and the new bill would interfere with the free market. There was also concern that the bill would stop electric automakers from bringing jobs to the state. Lawmakers who supported the bill said they need to make things fair for all automakers, and since they only have one joke, they of course had to turn the subject of automotive regulations into something transphobic.
“We’re saying if you choose to have a brick-and-mortar dealership, you have to follow the same laws that everyone else has to follow,” Republican senator Daniel Sparks said. “Please don’t tell me Tesla’s car doesn’t identify as a car.”
Meanwhile, Republican senator Joey Fillingane disagreed, saying, “Maybe we just like being last all the time. Maybe it’s a badge of honor — we’re the last ones to change. If we’re not careful ... we could deprive our citizens of opportunities they really ought not to be deprived of.”
To be fair to Mississippi, it’s not always last at everything. Yes, the percentage of state residents living in poverty, as well as its health and education scores are the worst in the country, but its economy and quality of life are only 49th in the nation.
Graciously, the bill would allow Tesla’s single store to remain open, but if, say, Rivian wanted to open a dealership in Mississippi, it would have to find a franchise dealer to actually sell the cars, which is ridiculous. All that does is protect archaic franchise dealer laws that have no place in modern society. Obviously, the dealers are going to support the bill, but who cares? Dealers can go kick rocks.