Victory at Last! Right to Repair is Now the Law in Massachusetts

Posted by Kathleen Schmatz on December 02, 2013

I’d like to open this blog with the words of our association chairman, Tim Lee:

We all obviously applaud our historic Right to Repair victory. When we look at the work that has gone into the success of this endeavor, it is tempting to place all the laurels at the feet of the great leadership we have. Aaron and Kathleen and their key people certainly deservedly come to mind immediately. While in no way meant to demean their efforts and their skill, let us also remember that the association that is responsible for the success in the legislative arena, also is charged daily with the provision of member value and services for unrelated areas of concentration. It is because of the innumerable success achieved by our support staff in all areas of our association management, that the crusaders can lead the charge and win the opposition’s battle colors. 

I echo Tim’s comments. We are very fortunate to have an amazing staff at AAIA that helps make victories like this possible. And the victory was…

Last week Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the Massachusetts Right to Repair legislation into law, ensuring that the commonwealth’s citizens will have access to a competitive vehicle repair market.

The signing by the governor represents a major victory for Massachusetts car owners, who took the major step last year in voting for the nation’s first Right to Repair law. AAIA and our partner, the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE), will now devote our full attention to completing work on a memorandum of understanding with the vehicle manufacturers that is intended to ensure that motorists across the nation can enjoy the same market benefits that Massachusetts car owners now enjoy.

The newly-signed legislation was needed in order to reconcile two laws that were on the books in Massachusetts that mandate that car companies provide affordable access to all tools, software and information used to repair late model computer-controlled vehicles. The first law was the result of an agreement reached between the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition and the vehicle manufacturers that was passed unanimously by the state legislature in late July.  The bill was approved by the legislature 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 85-15 percent margin, thus ensuring that there were two Right to Repair laws on the books in Massachusetts.

The recently-signed bill is similar to the bill which passed the legislature in 2012, but includes provisions that require that information and tools be available for heavy duty vehicles, those over 14,000 pounds. The ballot measure included these vehicles, but they had been deleted from the bill that passed the legislature. Through efforts of a coalition of aftermarket heavy duty service providers, the state Senate adopted an amendment that restored heavy duty vehicles back into the bill. 

Stand by for what we hope will be more good news on the national memo of understanding with the vehicle manufacturers that we hope will ensure competition in the vehicle repair industry to the rest of the nation