Updates on the latest that is happening in the U.S. and globally in the fight for Right to Repair.
Right to Repair Updates
In the News
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet is held a hearing on July 18, 2023 “Is There a Right to Repair” which will examine the current legal landscape of the right to repair and related intellectual property issues, including potential future avenues for policymaking. In advance of the hearing, MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers submitted a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa and Ranking Member Hank Johnson outlining the importance of consumer choice in choosing where and with what parts vehicles are repaired and maintained.
The release of an agreement on July 11, 2023 between the Automotive Service Association, the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, and Alliance for Automotive Innovation highlights crucial elements in the fight for consumer choice and a fair market in automotive repair access. MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers supports progress toward a solution to repair access, and we see this agreement as a step in the right direction to ensure that consumers are protected.
However, the agreement falls short of all the protections necessary to ensure consumer choice now and into the future for all parties, not only signatories of the pact. As a transportation industry, we believe that we have one opportunity to pass federal legislation and that legislation must include the ability to prioritize and protect consumers’ access to both light duty and heavy-duty vehicle repair and maintenance through all iterations of vehicle technology on the road today and to come.
The conflict dates to 2020, when Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure granting them the right to repair their cars. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association representing global auto manufacturers, filed a suit to prevent the law from going into effect. It argued that the law was preempted by federal vehicle safety rules—in other words, not the sort of thing Massachusetts voters could decide—and created safety risks by opening up its vehicles to manipulation. The federal judge overseeing the lawsuit has yet to decide on the case, and the federal government had stayed mum on it until this month.
So now the right-to-repair movement faces another setback. Massachusetts says its law is good for car consumers. The federal government says it’s bad for car safety.
What does the new twist in this right-to-repair case mean for the state’s car owners, repairers, and dealers? At this point, confusion. “Massachusetts consumers don’t know their rights because of how long this is taking,” says Tommy Hickey, who leads the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition (and now a Maine group trying to pass a similar law there.) Meanwhile, new car owners in Massachusetts who have lost access to some safety and comfort features as a result of the legal fight have been left in the lurch.
Paul McCarthy, President and CEO of MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers group and Lisa Foshee, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and General Counsel of the Auto Care Association discuss the recent update to repair access laws the challenges that may arise in enforcing it.
Remarkable Results Radio with Carm Capriotto
This week, the Massachusetts AG started enforcing the Right to Repair statute in the state. This follows an unsuccessful injunction filed by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation that was denied by the federal judge in the case.
The REPAIR Act is now up to 15 co-sponsors after the addition of Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA-23) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) on May 11.
Massachusetts AG changes course in case over repair telematics law Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell will enforce a November 2020 ballot measure to extend the state’s automobile right to repair law to include access to vehicle telematics data after terminating a non-enforcement stipulation of the Law put in place by former AG Maura Healy in December 2020. “The remaining claims to be decided in this case are the Alliance’s preemption claims under the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act (“MVSA”) and the federal Clean Air Act (“CAA”),” Campbell wrote in her April 14 brief. “The test for preemption is whether there is ‘no set of circumstances’ under which a party can comply with state law without violating federal law. Incredibly, the Alliance’s brief mentions neither the MVSA nor the CAA. It instead ruminates on purported ‘problems’ with the Data Access Law and difficulties its members will face in achieving ‘compliance’ with it. …Such concerns — even if they found support in the record, which they do not — fail to not support preemption.”
Colorado Ag Equipment bill was transferred to the desk of Governor Jared Polis this week. He is expected to sign it into law before the end of the month.
Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Hearing: “Fiscal Year 2024 Federal Trade Commission Budget”
During an April 18 congressional hearing on the Budget of the Federal Trade Commission, REPAIR Act Sponsor Dr. Neal Dunn (R-FL) raised his bill and the importance of addressing motor vehicle repair restrictions. Additionally, Congressman Rick Allen (R-GA) asked the FTC about their plans to address right to repair for automobiles. Additionally, FTC Chair Khan and Commissioner Bedoya both mentioned the recent work on repair by the Commission during their testimony.
Momentum continues to build on Right to Repair. This week, a witness from the FTC testified before a California Senate Subcommittee on repair restrictions. In the written testimony, FTC highlighted the automotive aftermarket’s ability to repair complex vehicles.
Also in the states, the Colorado legislature passed an agriculture right to repair bill for tractors, sending the bill to the Governor for signature.