Oregon Passes One of the Strongest Right to Repair Laws in the US

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Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed a “right to repair” bill into law on March 27. The state isn’t the first to pass such a law, but the new, bipartisan legislation is considered one of the strongest of its kind in the U.S.

The law requires companies to make it easier for people to repair their own tech products and appliances. Manufacturers will be expected to offer documentation, diagnostic tools and replacement parts to consumers, so they may make their own repairs if they wish.

“As many Oregonians are struggling to make ends meet, this legislation is an opportunity to give people more choice on how to repair their devices, create pathways to saving consumers money, and reduce the harmful environmental impacts of our increased reliance on technology and the waste we create when we cannot repair,” State Representative Courtney Neron, who sponsored the bill, said in a press release.

According to Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG), Oregon has joined Massachusetts, Colorado, New York, Minnesota, Maine and California in passing right to repair laws. There are 26 other states considering similar laws, which vary in what products they cover. Several states are considering right to repair bills that address farm equipment, consumer electronics and wheelchairs.

But what makes the Oregon law stand out from existing right to repair laws around the U.S. is that it aims to prevent manufacturers from disabling some functions of a phone if users repair specific parts, which is known as parts pairing, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. This practice connects the serial number of a part to the serial number of the device, so swapping out a part without help from an authorized repair person can cause issues with the repaired device.

The new law requires that companies give people who want to repair their items what they would need to make those repairs on fair terms, with fair terms defined as “giving independent people what they need on the same terms as people the maker authorizes to make fixes,” per the bill summary.

In addition to giving users more flexibility in repairing their own items and saving money, right to repair laws help address a growing e-waste problem. According to Statista, there are more than 50 million metric tons of e-waste generated globally every year.

“Oregon’s Right to Repair Act is about saving Oregonians money and supporting small business growth in Oregon. It provides positive environmental action by reducing e-waste, cutting pollution by manufacturing less waste and creating an after-market inventory of products to close the digital divide across our state,” Senator Janeen Sollman, chief sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said in a press release. “Oregonians deserve to have affordable and sustainable options for repairing their electronics instead of throwing them away or replacing them.”

The legislation takes effect in January 2025, and enforcement of the law will begin in 2027. The state will be able to fine manufacturers that violate the law once enforcement begins with civil penalties up to $1,000 per day.

This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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This article originally appeared on EcoWatch and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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