Maine Senate Won’t Gut Car Repair Law

Maine Senate Won’t Gut Car Repair Law

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A last-ditch effort by automakers to gut a robust automotive Right to Repair law passed via ballot measure in Maine died in the state’s Senate this week. The bill, LD 1911, “An Act Concerning Automotive Right to Repair,” which was sponsored by Maine Representative Bruce White and passed through the state’s House of Representatives in March was “indefinitely postponed” by a vote of the senate and declared “dead” in on April 15th. ​

“​We’re happy to see the legislature saw through the disingenuous confusion tactics of the car manufacturers and their sponsors and voted down LD 1911,” Tom Hickey, the director of the Maine Automotive Right to Repair Coalition, said in an email statement. “With our law fully intact, we will now work with the (Maine) Attorney General to convene the task force effort to implement the law in the most effective way for the betterment of consumers and the small businesses of Maine.”

The amendments sought by LD 1911 would have stripped key provisions from the law, including language guaranteeing independent repair professionals and vehicle owners direct access to wireless repair information, as well as legislated oversight by the Maine Attorney General, and a due process for disputes over access to repair information.

When cars’ diagnostics go over a standard OBDII port, they’re widely accessible. But when diagnostics are transmitted wirelessly. manufacturers can block independent technicians from getting access to that information.

This news also comes as the Maine Senate overwhelmingly passed LD 1487, a bill granting Maine residents the right to repair electronic devices. Senators voted 33–1 to pass an amended version of the legislation. However, the bill now passes to the Maine House, where its future is uncertain.

More News

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  • Pennsylvania legislators are considering a repair bill: Prompted by State Rep. Scott Conklin’s experience with a broken cell phone charging port, proponents of the bill are highlighting the urgent need to challenge manufacturers’ monopolistic control over repairs and updates. The current proposal exempts medical devices and agricultural equipment.
  • Apple sued for deliberately slowing phones in Belgium: The Belgian consumer group, Test Achats, took Apple to court in 2020 over planned obsolescence practices orchestrated via software updates, which included the company’s now-notorious decision to issue software updates in 2017 for iPhone 6 models leading to performance degradation which some allege pushed users towards purchasing newer devices. Apple paid around $500 million to resolve legal claims over that decision in the U.S., yet the case has moved more slowly elsewhere. After procedural delays in the Belgian system, Test Achats has restarted the proceedings, pushing for faster resolution through legal reforms.