Right to Repair Act to be reintroduced in Oregon this legislative session

Broad coalition, including Google, announces support for bill 

SALEM, Ore. – Sen. Janeen Sollman announced Thursday the reintroduction of the Right to Repair Act in the short 2024 legislative session. If passed, the bill will reduce electronic waste, save consumers money and help bridge Oregon’s digital divide.

The legislation would require electronics manufacturers to make available parts, tools, manuals and documentation consumers and independent repair professionals can use to fix damaged products. This legislation is also the first in the nation to address the practice of “parts pairing,” which increases the costs of repairing devices for consumers and harms small repair businesses.

“Right to Repair is fundamentally about ensuring we have products that last longer. It will save consumers money and helps us protect precious resources,” said State Sen. Janeen Sollman, “To be able to fix a product and then sell it at a reasonable rate or donate it and get it back in the hands of somebody who could use it, is a win for Oregonians. Consumers benefit because they have choice.

After years of advocacy for the right to repair, similar legislation passed in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and New York in 2023. Many electronics companies have previously opposed the measure. This year some manufacturers are among the coalition supporting right to repair legislation because it aligns with goals to address climate change and design products with longevity in mind.

Google, the manufacturer of Pixel phones and tablets, announced its support for the Oregon legislation at the news conference with Sen. Sollman and other advocates Thursday.

“We applaud the efforts of Oregon state senator Janeen Sollman in advancing a common sense repair bill. This legislation represents an inclusive compromise that brings tech companies, small repair companies, environmental leaders, and legislators to the table to find common ground and support the repair movement”, said Steven Nickel, Google’s Devices and Services Director of Operations, “This would be a win for consumers who are looking for affordable repair options, for the environment, and for companies that want to invest in making their products more repairable and sustainable.”

In addition to the bill’s environmental benefits, repair-friendly policies would also save households hundreds of dollars, according to an analysis by the non-partisan public interest group OSPIRG. The OSPIRG report, Repair Saves Families Big, estimates fixing phones, computers, and appliances instead of buying new ones would save the average Oregon household $382 per year, which adds up to nearly $650 million statewide.

“Many companies have established what is effectively a repair monopoly on their products. That often forces consumers to buy a new product instead of extending the life of the one they have,” said Charlie Fisher, OSPIRG’s state director, “The right to repair would stem the flow of e-waste and give consumers better, lower-cost options for fixing their devices.”

Like the previous version of Oregon’s Right to Repair Act which was introduced last year and garnered more than 40 co-sponsors, supporters expect broad acceptance this legislative session. Bills passed in other states garnered bi-partisan, and often near-unanimous support before being signed into law.

“Fixing these devices instead of filling our landfills could save Oregon consumers hundreds of dollars a year,” said State Rep. Courtney Neron, “And In a time when many Oregonians struggle to stretch their dollars each month, this Right to Repair legislation is the right thing to do.”

More than 70 small repair businesses across Oregon also support the legislation saying, if passed, the bill would allow them to better serve their customers and community.

“Lately, a new trend has emerged that is often referred to as parts pairing. Some manufacturers assign a serial number to parts and use software locks so that the part can only be used with that one specific device,” said Romain Griffith who has co-owned Hyperion Computerworks in southwest Portland since 2019, “The parts pairing practice stifles fair competition. When I tell somebody that they might face this or that inconvenience by having me do the repair instead of the manufacturer, they’re likely to take the more certain route through the manufacturer. I’ve gone through the expense of marketing to reach someone with a device for me to fix only for the work to fall through over an arbitrary restriction.”