With the introduction of AB 221 in Nevada on Tuesday, 25 states across the country have considered active Right to Repair legislation so far in 2021, demonstrating the widespread appeal of the policy. These bills would reform existing laws to require manufacturers of electronic equipment to provide access to necessary items such as manuals, spare parts, diagnostics and special tools so people can repair their devices. In some states, the legislation targets farm or medical equipment, while in other states, the bills apply broadly.
If you thought that consumers were going to let manufacturers take away our ability to fix the things we own lying down, you have another thing coming. People just want to fix their stuff, and they’ve been clamoring -- here, there and everywhere -- for lawmakers to protect their right to repair.
“We see and feel the momentum building. Legislation is moving not just in the United States, but also around the globe,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, the executive director of Repair.org, which represents the independent repair industry. “The time for manufacturers to get on the right side of their customers -- and history -- is now.”
“Right to Repair is unstoppable and coming to a state near you,” added Kerry Maeve Sheehan, U.S. policy lead for iFixit, the world’s biggest online repair community. “Lawmakers everywhere are seeing that Right to Repair is common sense: You buy a product, you own it, and you should be able to fix it. With 25 states considering Right to Repair legislation in the U.S., it’s only a matter of time before Right to Repair is the law of the land.”
The full list of states and bills, and the equipment covered, is below:
- Arkansas - SB 461 (ag equipment)
- California - SB 605 (medical equipment)
- Connecticut - HB 5255 and HB 5826 (all non-car devices), and HB 6216 (cars)
- Colorado - HB 1199 (all non-car and non-medical equipment, though includes class 2 wheelchairs)
- Delaware - HB22 (all non-car devices)
- Florida - S 374 and H 0511 (ag equipment)
- Hawaii - SB 760 (medical equipment), SB 564 (all non-car devices), HB415 (consumer products), HB 226 (all non-car devices)
- Illinois - HB 3061 (all non-car devices)
- Kansas - HB 2309 (ag equipment)
- Maryland - SB 412 and HB 84 (all non-car devices)
- Massachusetts - HD 260 and SD 199 (all non-car and non-medical equipment)
- Missouri - HB975 (ag equipment), HB 1118 (all non-car devices)
- Minnesota - HF 1156 (all non-car and non-medical equipment)
- Montana HB 175 (all non-car and non-medical equipment) and HB 390 and SB 273 (ag equipment)
- Nebraska - LB543 (ag equipment)
- Nevada - AB 221 (all non-car devices)
- New Jersey - A 1482 (all non-car devices) A 2906 (ag equipment)
- New Hampshire - HB449 (home appliances)
- New York - S04104 (all non-car and non-medical equipment) S149 (ag equipment)
- Oklahoma - HB1011 (all non-car devices)
- Oregon - HB 2698 (all non-car and non-medical equipment)
- South Carolina - H 3500 (ag equipment)
- Texas - HB 2541 (medical equipment)
- Vermont - H.58 and S.67 (ag equipment)
- Washington - HB 1212 (consumer devices)
The COVID-19 pandemic has helped increase urgency for Right to Repair efforts. Lack of access to local repair options has proved to be a major hurdle for hospitals trying to save lives, as well as people attempting to work or learn remotely while offices and schools have been closed. Meanwhile, lawmakers also are focusing on farm equipment issues because industry groups had promised to resolve farmers’ problems by 2021 and have failed to do so.
When the manufacturer or their "authorized" service providers are the only options to repair items, it raises costs for consumers and makes the whole system fragile. When the coronavirus pandemic shut down big box stores, people didn’t have options to fix their devices, and their frustration helped to fuel the energy behind our efforts this year. This issue isn’t going away until lawmakers deliver for consumers.
UPDATE April 22, 2021. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island also filed bills, so the total number is now 27.