Auto Care Association

Massachusetts House okays Right to Repair reconciliation measure

The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved Right to Repair legislation that seeks to reconcile the two laws in place in the commonwealth that require car companies to provide independent repair shops and car owners full access to service information, tools and software needed to maintain and repair late model vehicles, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) reported. The first law was a compromise measure between the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition and the vehicle manufacturers that was passed unanimously by the state legislature in late July. However, the compromise measure was approved too late to remove a ballot measure that had been sponsored by the coalition. That ballot measure was approved in November 2012 by an overwhelming 85 to 15 percent margin, thus ensuring that there were two Right to Repair laws on the books in Massachusetts.

While the ballot measure and the law enacted by the legislature are very similar, there are some differences. These include the fact that the legislature-passed bill would require car companies to provide their diagnostic software through a cloud that utilizes a standardized vehicle interface by model year 2018, while the ballot measure would mandate compliance with these provisions by model year 2015. The ballot measure also includes motorcycles and heavy duty trucks, while the legislature had narrowed the focus of the law to only passenger vehicles. The reconciliation bill tracks closely with the law that passed the legislature.

The reconciliation bill now moves to the state Senate where it is expected that there will be attempts to amend the bill to include heavy duty vehicles. Both car companies and AAIA have called for the legislature to act on the reconciliation measure before the body adjourns for the year later this week.