Executive Director, CoPIRG
Executive Director, CoPIRG
DENVER – Colorado wheelchair users have won a landmark victory that eventually could affect every U.S. consumer’s right to repair. Gov. Jared Polis signed HB22-1031 into law Thursday, requiring manufacturers of powered wheelchairs to make available parts, tools, repair manuals and digital access to owners and independent repairers at fair and reasonable prices. The new Colorado law also marks the first time a state has passed a right-to-repair bill since Massachusetts voters approved an automotive Right to Repair ballot measure in 2013.
Advocates and bill sponsors released the following statements:
“For decades, if something you owned broke, you could fix it yourself, take it to an independent repair shop or go back to the manufacturer,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG executive director. “Unfortunately, as more of our stuff becomes digital, manufacturers increasingly lock us out, undermining the repair marketplace and driving up costs and inconvenience for consumers. After years of hard work, I’m proud to see the Colorado legislature step up and become the first state to give people who use wheelchairs the right to repair their mobility devices. This is a big win for Colorado. We hope this law provides an example for the dozens of states around the country working for their residents’ right to repair their stuff.”
“The passage of this bill is a big deal, not just for the disability community, but for the Right to Repair movement as a whole,” said bill sponsor Rep. Brianna Titone. “Many bills have been attempted over the years, but none have been successful until now. People should have the right to fix their own stuff. They shouldn’t be blocked and hamstrung with obstacles that create a lifecycle monopoly on any product. We’re giving Coloradans with wheelchairs the option to get the parts, tools and program access necessary to fix it themselves. Nobody should have to be stuck in a broken wheelchair because they can’t fix it.”
“When someone is confined to a wheelchair, their life is hard enough, and they don’t need big profit-seeking companies to make life even tougher by obstructing the good working order of the wheelchair,” said bill sponsor Sen. Rachel Zenzinger. “This bill clearly made sense, and now I hope the rest of the nation catches up to Colorado in short order. I’m proud that we were able to set the precedent.”
“If a part breaks on someone’s wheelchair, it needs to be fixed quickly. Going days or even weeks with a broken wheelchair can result in sores, injuries or someone can no longer leave their home,” said Julie Reiskin, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition executive director. “Many of the things that break, we could easily repair ourselves or take it to someone we trust. We need the right to repair our stuff. We also need to reduce Medicaid barriers to getting repairs done quickly and we need to hold companies accountable that do not respond to their customer’s needs.”