NY Senate Passes Right-to-Repair Legislation as a First in the US

The law is called the Digital Fair Repair Act and it still has to pass the Assembly vote.
Loukia Papadopoulos

The New York State Senate has voted to pass the Digital Fair Repair Act, an electronics right-to-repair legislation, reported VICE. This makes the senate the first legislative body in the U.S. to approve such a law. 

“It protects consumers from the monopolistic practices of manufacturers,” Senator Phil Boyle said on the floor. “We all have computers, laptops, and smartphones that we repair once in a while. Many times we have to send them back to the manufacturer for simple repairs that cost a lot more. Now people can repair their own computers, laptops, and smartphones, and farm equipment. We don’t have to send them back to the manufacturers.”

The bill was passed with 51 Senators voting for and only 12 voting against. In order to be enacted, however, it still has to pass the Assembly vote and get signed by the Governor.

Back in November of 2020, the E.U. Parliament also pushed for a right-to-repair act. This is good news as our increasing consumption of electronics is beginning to take a toll on the environment particularly in the form of e-waste.

Also known as waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), e-waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world and accounts for 70% of all the toxic waste in American landfills. E-waste poisons the soil and groundwater and affects public health, particularly in developing nations where it is often sent by developed nations.

The new U.S. bill would "require original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to make diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment available to independent repair providers and consumers if such parts and repair information are also available to OEM authorized repair providers."

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The majority of people want the right to repair their own electronics as they are attached to their gadgets and it is significantly more expensive to replace broken gadgets with new ones. However, companies that benefit from repair monopolies have the finances to spend a significant amount of money lobbying state legislatures to fight against the right-to-repair. 

The New York Senate vote is a strong step in the right direction, one that will hopefully include not only electronics but farming equipment and medical devices as well.

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