Minnesota Passes Helpful But Lobbyist Limited ‘Right To Repair’ Law

from the fix-your-own-shit dept

Despite industry best efforts to prevent it, the “right to repair” movement shows no sign of slowing down.

This week, Minnesota was the latest state to pass a new right to repair law. State lawmakers added right to repair provisions to an omnibus bill (SF 2774) after obtaining bipartisan support across both chambers. The language requires electronics manufacturers to let independent repair shops and consumers buy the parts and tools necessary to repair their own tech. 

It’s a direct response to years of efforts across numerous industries designed to make repair more difficult, whether that’s by making tools and manuals hard to come by, implementing obnoxious DRM, or buying up local repair shops in a bid to create a monopoly over repair.

As is often the case, Minnesota’s new rules come with some caveats. Most notably they don’t apply to several business segments where industry efforts to monopolize repair are the worst, such as game consoles, medical equipment, or motor vehicles. Still, they cover things like appliances, which should help reduce consumer costs and prevent environmental waste.

In a statement, right to repair advocates at PIRG still called the passage a notable win:

“This is the biggest Right to Repair win to date. Minnesotans know that when things break, you fix them. And when manufacturers refuse to let us access what we need for the repair, you fix the law to make them cooperate,” said Nathan Proctor, senior director for U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign. “Repairs cut waste and save consumers money. It’s common-sense, and it is becoming increasingly clear that manufacturers’ attempts to thwart repair will no longer be tolerated. Minnesota won’t be the last state to codify that.” 

Lobbyists in the auto, gaming, and medical equipment industries managed to successfully narrow the scope of the bill throughout the legislative process. The auto industry in particular has been engaged in an all out lobbying campaign to falsely claim right to repair reforms aid sexual predators. Other companies, like Apple, have tried (again, falsely) to claim right to repair is a threat to security and privacy.

Still, Minnesota is only the second state to pass meaningful right to repair restrictions. The first was New York, which saw its right to repair restrictions watered down after passage thanks to last minute wheeling and dealing by NY Gov. Kathy Hochul. The movement shows no sign of slowing down, and the more obnoxious companies are on the issue, the greater the pressure to implement reform.

Minnesota’s new rules take effect starting July 1st, 2024, and cover technology sold on or after July 1st, 2021.

Filed Under: appliance repair, bipartisan, freedom to tinker, independent repair, minnesota, monopoly, right to repair

Source : https://www.techdirt.com/2023/05/25/minnesota-passes-helpful-but-lobbyist-limited-right-to-repair-law/

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