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Massachusetts "right to repair" bill passes Senate

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May 22, 2012


BOSTON, Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Senate passed "Right-to-Repair" legislation on May 18 that requires auto manufacturers to provide full access to all non-proprietary service information, tools, and safety-related bulletins needed to repair their vehicles. Much of the focus has been on getting manufacturers to provide software needed to diagnose car trouble to independent repair shops and vehicle owners. This is the second time in three years that the bill has passed the Senate, having passed once before in 2010, but the previous measure fell short when the House failed to bring the legislation to a vote.[1][2]

Public opinion polls on the issue have been strongly in favor of the legislation, and over 100,000 citizens have signed a Right-to-Repair ballot initiative this year. The primary goal of advocates is to expand consumer choice with respect to service centers, and increase number of independent shops that have the ability to repair vehicles. If the House does not pass the bill, supporters claim that they will get the issue on the ballot in November.[1][2]

Since the measure stems from a proposed indirect initiated state statute, if the general assembly does not choose to make the proposal a law, supporters must gather additional signatures to obtain ballot access. Those signatures must be obtained from about 1/2 of 1% of voters who voted in the last governor election and supporters must submit them to local clerks.[3]

Validated signatures must then be turned in by the first Wednesday of July to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. Since the deadline falls on a national holiday, July 4, that deadline could be either July 3 or 5.[4]

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