Gov. Tomblin signs bill to prohibit Tesla stores in WV - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Tomblin signs bill to prohibit Tesla stores in WV

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) -

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill blocking Tesla Motors from opening its high-end electric car stores in West Virginia.

The Democratic governor approved the bill that favors traditional franchise auto dealers in the state. Tesla works in direct-to-customer sales.

Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman says the bill helps locally owned auto dealerships, saying they are "important to the fabric of West Virginia communities and support civic and non-profit groups."

Previously, Tomblin expressed concerns.

On the last night of legislative session in March, Tomblin said he has "a lot of friends who are car dealers. And maybe they would like to protect their turf, but at the same time, it's just another business."

Republican Senate President Bill Cole owns several traditional dealerships. He abstained from voting on the Tesla proposal.

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