Among legislation passed in the Mississippi State Senate on Thursday was House Bill 401, a bill being sent to Gov. Tate Reeves that restricts how electric vehicles are sold in the state.
A popular way of buying an electric vehicle is through manufacturer dealerships, such as the Tesla dealership in Jackson. The bill would prohibit future manufacturer dealerships from being set up in the state, requiring electric vehicles be sold through local dealers, similar to gas-powered vehicles.
Supporters of the bill say it would level the playing field for local dealers. Opponents said the bill tells electric vehicle manufacturers that their sales model is not welcome in Mississippi. It is also believed that electric vehicles would start to be sold in other states and not in the Magnolia State.
The bill would have an impact in DeSoto County, because Tesla, for instance, could not set a Tesla dealership in the county, while neighboring states, such as Tennessee or Arkansas, could welcome them there. Teslas in Mississippi would have to be sold through existing local dealers, instead.
The bill passed on a vote of 39-14 and is now sent to the Governor’s desk. All three DeSoto County senators, Dr. David Parker (R-Olive Branch), Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven), and Michael McLendon (R-Hernando) voted in favor of the bill. Gov. Reeves has not said whether he will sign or veto it.