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A cause for celebration: Gov. Newsom signs bill codifying BAR Advisory 

Signing ensures BAR’s powers to require shops in violation to attend remedial training, safety certificates for consumer safety when purchasing a salvage vehicle, and more

In CalABC’s vision, if we create an environment where all stakeholders win, we all win. But creating an environment where someone has to lose, then we all lose. The California Automotive Business Coalition (CalABC) has worked diligently to ensure that the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), consumers and businesses all benefit from the rules and regulations we create.

Johan Gallo, CalABC executive director

ARC started in 1992 and later became CalABC. ARC held an Automotive Repair Industry  Summit in December 1996 that led to Executive Order 188-98 forming the BAR Advisory has culminated in Gov. Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 1263. 

It means the continuation of the BAR Advisory Committee: require employees, such as service writers, who are involved in a BAR violation to attend remedial training; require a salvage rebuilder selling a revived salvage vehicle to provide a consumer with a safety systems certificate; and require upcoming BAR towing and storage regulations to reference the civil and vehicle codes and insurance code regulations. 

This could not have occurred without the work and support of Chris Walker — CalABC’s first lobbyist who worked tirelessly with State Senators Leroy F. Greene and Richard Polanco, and BAR Chief Marty Keller to move legislation that resulted in the executive order. Marty saw the value of what CalABC does and became our first executive director. 

In order to see how far we’ve come, it’s important to take a look back.

If you ask the average person today why BAR was formed, they wouldn’t know the reason. Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the Automotive Repair Act into law in November of 1971, and then created the BAR after hearing the many horror stories from families being ripped off on the Baker Grade on the way to Las Vegas. Wives and children were often held until the husband went and got cash to pay for repairs that were often fraudulent. The Bureau opened March of 1972.

“People in the repair business are striving hard too, but a few are tarnishing some noble efforts. The Bureau has no easy task,” stated John T. Kehoe, legislative secretary for Gov. Reagan, in 1973. “We can make California the first state in the nation to achieve a new level of confidence in automotive repair.”

The ARC/CalABC Summit in 1998 in Sacramento, where they set out to change thie relationship with BAR and the automotive repair industry.

After two years of working with the legislature, Gov. Pete Wilson created and signed Executive Order 188-98 in 1998 requiring BAR to form the Advisory, which was required for two years, yet it has existed for 25 years.

We’ve come a long way. The long-term working relationship we’ve established with BAR Chief Patrick Dorais (honored this month with the CalABC Visionary Award), who worked with Marty, has seen the balance we work hard to maintain so that all stakeholders win with Gov. Newsom’s signing AB 1263. Working with Jack Molodanof, our current lobbyist, and the entire CalABC Board of Directors, we continue work hard on all the issues impacting our industry and our members, who see the value and results of our work.

It’s a reminder of an age-old lesson: If you’re not at the table, then you are on the menu. Simply stated, if you’re not helping to shape the laws and regulations that impact your businesses by any government agency, you become their target. We applaud everyone who has made this signing possible and the long road we traveled together to get here.

CalABC focuses on the major issues impacting its members and the automotive industry. Have ideas and concerns you would like CalABC to address? Contact Johan Gallo at

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