Mass. 'Right to Repair' bill sent to governor
Massachusetts lawmakers have approved a bill that would give independent repair shops in the state the same access to repair codes and tooling as franchised dealers. The legislators had less than 24 hours to deliberate on the legislation.
The state's "Right to Repair" bill is now on the desk of Gov. Deval Patrick, who has 10 days to sign or veto it.
The most recent bill was drafted in a compromise involving four organizations: the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Global Automakers, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition and the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association.
The bill was delivered to the Legislature Tuesday morning -- just hours before the formal legislative session closed at midnight.
Regardless of action taken on the legislation, an initiative on the issue will appear on the state's November ballot. The compromise bill allows automakers more time than the ballot initiative would to comply with the law's requirements and allows them more options for meeting a universal diagnostic standard. If the bill is signed, many automakers will be required to alter vehicle software to comply with the standard.
If the bill becomes law, the four organizations have said they will persuade citizens to vote against the ballot initiative.
Dan Gage, spokesman for the alliance, said his organization is confident the bill will become law.
He said: "I suspect the governor will sign it."
Though unlikely, if the ballot initiative passes after the bill is signed, the terms of the ballot initiative would be take precedence over the terms of the new law, and the legislature would likely repeal one of the statues, Gage said.
However, Gage added that in past instances where such an event has occurred, the legislature has repealed the ballot initiative statue, preserving the compromise legislation.
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