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Vehicle Modification Legislation to Watch During Lame Duck Session

Posted on in HME Government Issues

As many congressional members are racing towards the finish line of their respective elections, one piece of legislation that impacts home modification suppliers is also getting closer to the finish line. House bill H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2016, seeks to ensure that veterans’ vehicles are safe to operate when they have benefited from accessibility modifications paid for by the VA. This is a very commendable bill and take steps to make sure that veterans are receiving proper equipment that allows them to be more independent and safe. However, National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), which has spearheaded the legislation, wrote the language to dominate the market for its own members with no corresponding benefit for veterans.

This legislation passed the House of Representatives through the hotline process in September before Congress adjourned for the elections. The home modification industry has been closely monitoring this bill and making sure that independent providers are not shutout through the proposed certification process which could eliminate driveway installations for certain types of modifications for veterans. As the bill stands, there is not a provision in the language to protect providers, something that the industry has said is crucial to this bill. Fortunately, an amendment is in the process of being drafted and gathering support in the Senate that would ensure that independents are not shutout of the opportunity to provide these vehicle modifications. The amendment would remove the requirement of third party certification to perform modifications. In addition, there are measures within the draft language which sets certification standards and clarifies types of vehicle modifications.

AHIA will continue to follow this issue closely as there is only a brief lame duck session of Congress after they return from the elections. Both the House and Senate must pass the same bill, which means that if the Senate amends the bill to ensure that independents are not cut out from providing services, the House will have to pass the new language.

As candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard, we encourage you to attend events of your elected officials and ask them to support the Senate-amended version of H.R. 3471. Congress is much more visible during the election season as legislators campaign; please reach out to your local office and speak up for the home and vehicle modification industry!

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