The status of Massachusetts’ Right to Repair legislation continues to meet delays as a coalition of automakers seeks to overturn the new law approved by a majority of Massachusetts voters in November 2020.
Approved by an overwhelming 75-25 percent margin in 2020, the new Right to Repair law would require manufacturers to provide vehicle owners both access and control of the diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles. Subsequent to the vote, the car company trade group, Alliance for Automotive Innovation filed a lawsuit (Alliance for Automotive Innovation vs. Maura Healey, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) in November 2020 asking the court to overturn the data access ballot question based on a host of allegations including cybersecurity concerns, insufficient time to comply with the new data access requirements and their contention that the ballot initiative is preempted by federal law. The court case has seen numerous delays over the past two years.
Today, it has been reported that the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (AAI) and the state Attorney General’s (AG) office have submitted scheduling proposals for further proceedings in the litigation unfolding around MA’s right to repair law. In its proposal, AAI states, “While it remains the Plaintiff’s position that the OEMs cannot comply with the plain language of the Data Access Law without violating their safety obligations under the Vehicle Safety Act, Plaintiff understood the Court to request a more robust discussion of the statutory interpretation issues that hopefully could narrow areas of disagreement. We are not off to an encouraging start. Worse, the Attorney General couples her reiterated interpretations with an accelerated schedule that will ensure this endeavor fails. The Attorney General’s proposed schedule simply does not allow time for a deeper dive on these interpretation questions.” AAI proposed that they be given until Sept. 22 to review and reply to the AG’s proposal with the hopes of conferring and submitting a single clarified document on or before Oct. 14.
Commenting on this latest action, Justin Rzepka, executive director of the CAR Coalition, said, “It’s been nearly two years since the people of Massachusetts voiced their strong desire for more choice and competition when it comes to auto repairs. As this case continues to drag on, Congress cannot wait – it must act on federal Right to Repair solutions, like the REPAIR and SMART Acts, to restore choice and empower businesses to service car owners that want options.”
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Underserved, Agricultural, and Rural Business Development will hold a HEARING on Right to Repair at 10 a.m. EST on Wed., Sept. 14. Witnesses include the executive director of the Repair Association, which endorsed the SMART Act earlier this year, along with representatives from a New Hampshire-based tech shop and Maine family farm.