Executive Director, MASSPIRG
Executive Director, MASSPIRG
Boston, MA: The Massachusetts Senate late Thursday evening became only the second state in the nation to pass electronics right to repair legislation. As part of an Economic Development bill the Senate approved a Right to Repair amendment that grants Massachusetts residents the right to repair portable electronic devices.
The proposal, sponsored by Senator Mike Brady (Brockton) was championed by Sen. Will Brownsberger, Sen. Paul Feeney, Senator Joan Lovely, and Senator Sue Moran. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Adrian Madaro is the chief sponsor.
“This is a victory for consumers and the environment,“ said Janet Domenitz, director of MASSPIRG, a key advocate in the effort to pass the policy. “The Right to Repair amendment will mean consumers will have more choice, the environment will see less waste, and small repair businesses will thrive in the Bay State. We’re grateful to Sen. Sue Moran and Rep. Tackey Chan for giving this bill a positive report earlier this year, and to Senate President Karen Spilka for getting it over the Senate’s finish line.”
Amendment 471 to Senate Bill 3018 will require that manufacturers provide independent repair shops and consumers with access to the parts, tools and information they need to fix our mobile devices, like cell phones and tablets.
This amendment is simultaneously pro-consumer, pro-small business and pro-environment. Research conducted by U.S. PIRG found that as of 2019, American households spend about $1,480 purchasing new electronic products per year and that a legal right to repair could reduce household spending on electronics and appliances by 22 percent, which would save an average family approximately $330 per year while also drastically reducing the amount of electronic waste generated by Massachusetts households. Having the ability to repair mobile devices will make this goal much easier to reach.
“Tech repair jobs are good jobs that feed families, are accessible to entrepreneurs without an advanced degree, and won’t be easily outsourced overseas,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of the Digital Right to Repair Coalition (repair.org), the originator of the current legislation filed by Claire Cronin and the late Senator Tom Kennedy in 2015. “We are delighted to see the Senate move this essential legislation.”
The fight is not over. The amended bill still has to win approval in a conference committee and be signed by the governor before it can become law. But with close to 75% of voters approving an expansion of the state’s automobile right to repair law in November 2020, and widespread, bi-partisan public support for right to repair, the Legislature should move quickly.
If it becomes law, the amendment would make Massachusetts the second state in the nation to grant consumers a right to repair portable electronic devices. Last month, New York passed the Digital Fair Repair Act covering a wide range of electronics. Also in June, Colorado passed a right to repair law covering powered wheelchairs.