By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
The “Right to Repair” debate is again heating up in Massachusetts, and as of now it looks as if the matter will be put to the public vote in November. The controversial bill had passed the state Senate in May but languished in the House of Representatives. By law, if not passed by early July, the matter can be placed on the November ballot if supporters present a sufficient number of signatures on a ballot petition.
In late June, supporters put out a news release stating that a compromise had been reached that would remove many of the objections from the state’s car dealers and other opponents, but provided no details on what had changed. Evidently, the members of the state House were not impressed and the bill did not move forward.
If enacted, the bill would require OEMs (among other things) to make all information available to a dealership also available to the aftermarket at a fair price and require use of a universal interface to retrieve repair information for all makes and models starting in 2016.
Supporters have now provided over 16,000 signatures on the official petition – 5,000 more than required – and the public will have the final decision. The driving force promoting the bill is the Right to Repair Coalition, made up of over 40 consumer-based and aftermarket repair organizations plus a large number of independent repair shops.
However, they are facing stiff and well funded opposition from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) which represents many domestic and foreign vehicle makers. Calling it “an empty, bumper sticker campaign”, an AAM spokesman pledged a “strong fight based on fact, not fiction.”
“Automakers have never closed the door to negotiation, and over the past eight months we’ve made significant concessions,” he added. “The national auto parts companies behind ‘right to repair’ have repeatedly rejected compromise, and they now force this issue to the ballot out of their own self interests.”
That’s some strong language, and probably a sign of things to come. Battle lines are being drawn now, and expect the campaigning to heat up in the next few months. The implications and effects of this bill could be huge if it is voted in— it would make Massachusetts the first state to have such a law and it would affect every manufacturer selling light vehicles in the state.
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When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.