- In 2022, New York became the first state in the country to guarantee the right to repair for consumer electronics by enacting the Digital Fair Repair Act.
- Since then, many other states have introduced right-to-repair legislation with the intent to lower consumer costs, offer more repair options, and cut down on potential environmental hazards and electronic waste.
- 2023 saw 33 states introduce consumer right-to-repair legislation for electronic devices, medical equipment, and agricultural equipment.
This article is part of our latest series: Major Issue Trends in 2023: State Legislative Recap. In this series, our experts examine the high-level legislative trends they saw in the 2023 state sessions. In addition to discussing the most prevalent issues considered by state policymakers, they explore some of the more surprising emerging trends we noticed, plus what to expect in 2024 for many of these policy areas. The series will be released during November and December, with new articles each week. Explore the full series here, and be sure to sign up for our email list so you don’t miss out on any articles (check the “Blog Posts” box).
Following the New York legislation, Minnesota lawmakers enacted their own right-to-repair law, as did Rhode Island, which required manufacturers to maintain records of reported defects or repairs and include a notice of the law at the time of purchase for a device. Other states that considered similar bills included California and Washington.
Medical Device Repair
Right to repair is also a concern in the healthcare field. Right-to-repair advocates argue that medical equipment with manufacturer-imposed restrictions could lead to delays, deter patient safety, and raise hospital costs. Manufacturers have raised concerns for right-to-repair legislation, which could lead to failures of the product if not repaired correctly. Lawmakers in North Carolina and Hawaii considered right-to-repair legislation that would require medical equipment manufacturers to provide the equipment and tools necessary for the repair of medical devices. Similarly, lawmakers in New Jersey introduced a bill that would require medical device manufacturers to provide replacement devices or cover the costs of repair.
Agricultural Equipment Right to Repair
Colorado enacted legislation this year requiring agricultural equipment manufacturers to provide parts and information for equipment repair. Several other states pursued similar bills, such as Maryland and Texas. Manufacturers argue that legislation could lead to a longer use of non-energy-efficient products and lead to negative environmental impacts. Right-to-repair advocates argue that bills will protect farmers and other agricultural workers from economic hardship so they can complete repairs as quickly as possible and not lose crops or harvesting time.
Other Avenues for Right to Repair Policy
State legislatures aren’t the only avenues for right-to-repair policy. Maine voters will decide whether to enact a ballot measure on the November ballot to determine whether motor vehicle owners and repair facilities should have access to on-board diagnostic systems. In Congress, members have introduced the REPAIR Act in the U.S. House of Representatives this year targeting the right to repair for automobiles.
Tracking State Right to Repair Legislation
MultiState’s team is actively identifying and tracking right to repair legislation so that businesses and organizations have the information they need to navigate and effectively engage. If your organization would like to further track this and other technology issues, please contact us.