Legislation that could allow Berkshire Hathaway Automotive to lawfully operate its more than two dozen dealerships in Texas has been introduced in the state for a second time.
In 2017, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, of Irving, ran afoul of Texas law because its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., also owns Forest River Inc., a manufacturer of RVs. Texas law forbids a vehicle manufacturer from also operating dealerships in the state, even stores selling other vehicles. It's the same law that bars Tesla-owned stores in the state.
Senate Bill 1415 and companion House Bill 2940 were introduced in early March that would allow Berkshire Hathaway to continue to own franchised vehicle dealerships and the RV manufacturing company. The bills specifically relate to ownership, control or operation of franchised or nonfranchised dealerships by certain motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors.
"I don't think the intent of Texas law was ever to prevent someone who sells apples from growing oranges," Republican Sen. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills, who introduced the Senate bill, said in a statement. "This bill simply clears that up."
The House bill Tuesday was referred to the Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.
The bills must be acted upon by May 27, when the Texas legislative session ends.
Hancock two years ago introduced legislation that would have aided Berkshire Hathaway. That bill died in that legislative session.
A Texas attorney general opinion issued in July 2017 concurred with Texas law on the books.