The New York state Senate on Thursday passed a landmark right-to-repair bill that aimed to require manufacturers to provide access to the parts, information and tools necessary for fixing electronic equipment. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Neil Breslin, was passed on a 51 to 12 vote.
While the New York state Assembly is unlikely to take up the sister bill, Assembly Bill 7006, sponsored by Asm. Pat Fahy, the senate vote is still a milestone. This is the first time a broad Right to Repair measure has seen a full chamber vote (earlier votes involved narrower bills for medical devices, farm equipment and cars).
The achievement comes amid heavy opposition: A U.S. PIRG study found that companies worth a combined $10.7 trillion have recently lobbied against Right to Repair. The bill is supported by Repair.org, NYPIRG and U.S. PIRG, iFixit.com, Consumer Reports Advocacy, and many other public interest and environmental organizations.
In response, U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair Campaign Director Nathan Proctor made the following statement:
“This is a big step: I’m proud of all the people who helped us reach this important milestone today. People just want to fix their stuff. In the face of frenzied opposition from some of the world’s biggest companies, the collective work of a rag tag collection of tinkerers, farmers, fixers, STEM educators, environmental groups and consumer advocates is finally breaking through.
“Despite a huge lobbying effort from manufacturers, New York senators listened to their constituents. They chose to pass a bill that will make repair cheaper and improve consumer choice. It will also help address the digital divide and empower a local repair economy. Similar to the FTC’s report last month, the state senators were unconvinced by the manufacturer’s disingenuous arguments — which are really just excuses to prop up repair monopolies.
“Right to Repair just makes sense: It saves money and it keeps electronics in use and off the scrap heap. When consumers have easily accessible repair options, it cuts back dramatically on downtime, which is especially critical for farmers. Beyond that, repair can teach students technology skills, inspire careers and help build a local repair economy on Main Street. We keep getting closer, and eventually we will win. While the passage of this bill is a big step in the right direction, we aren’t going to stop until people have the laws they need to fix their stuff.”
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