Right to Repair passes Senate, but reconciliation looms
Efforts for repair rights achieved a bit of a Pyrrhic victory this week. It's a situation in which they can definitely claim progress, but the cost might be heavier.
Fittingly, that mixed result stems directly from the two houses of Massachusetts state government, the place where R2R began almost a decade ago. Right to Repair passed through the Senate as an amendment to the Economic Development Bill, but the House version "is so different" that the two bills have to go through reconciliation (the bad news), according to Gay-Gabriel Byrne, Executive Director of The Repair Association, which spearheads R2R efforts via repair.org and grassroots outreach combined with political efforts.
A map of current states with Right to Repair laws as of early 2022.—Repair Association graphic
"The news is both good and bad at the same time," Byrne said in an e-mail to Electrical Apparatus. "The bill is substantially trimmed from the original at the request of leadership. As the title infers - the focus on the bill is portable things such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Still, a huge segment of the repair economy."
Here are details about the bill, for those interested in advocating, but you have to act fast.
Portable Wireless Device Repair Act, SECTION 108C, Chapter 93M
Amendment Reference: S3018-471
Only 6 people will hammer out the final package. Once an ED package is agreed upon -- it goes directly to the Governor for signature. The deadline for completion is Sunday, July 31.
The six folks are:
Chairman Michael Rodriques
Chairman Aaron Michelwitz
Senator Eric Lesser
Senator Patrick O’Connor
Representative Michael Soter
Representative Mark Cusack
"Opposition lobbyists are swarming the building advocating that Amendment 471 be stricken from the final package, Byrne added. "We have to be equally loud."
Byrne is asking supporters of Right to Repair to "please call your Rep and Senator right away and ask them to contact the Chairs in support of making sure that R2R stays in the bill and is not tossed away in a negotiation," emphasizing that "phone calls are 50X more important than emails at this late date."
You can also use TRA's Massachusetts state widget to get in touch with your representative and senator here: https://massachusetts.repair.org/. Good luck!