A new right to repair law in Massachusetts recently got the go-ahead from a federal judge for enforcement. The law went into effect on Thursday, June 1st amid efforts from automakers to overturn it.
According to a recent report from Boston Globe, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell was given authority to begin enforcing the law despite an ongoing lawsuit against it. Automakers have asked U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock for a temporary restraining order to prevent Campbell from enforcing the new law.
“The people have voted on this and that’s the result,” Woodlock said in a recent online hearing, per Boston Globe. “I am loath to impose my own views on the initiative.”
Although Woodlock said that the goal of the law was “unattainable” in its current form, adding that its enforcement would harm automakers, the larger burden of harm was borne by Campbell.
The new Massachusetts right to repair law, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a 2020 referendum, requires automakers who sell vehicles in Massachusetts to give consumers and independent repair shops access to vehicle telematics, thus providing the digital information needed to diagnose vehicle problems and repair issues. Independent shops argue that right to repair is needed to fight automaker monopolies on automotive maintenance.
Although the law is supported by enthusiasts and independent shops, a group of automakers, including GM, are arguing that the law would undermine data security, adding that the law is poorly drafted and impossible to comply with. Automakers may still seek to implement a preliminary injunction against the law.
Back in 2021, the Biden administration issued an executive order encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to take action on restrictions related to right to repair issues, including self-repair for automobiles and other consumer goods. In 2022, U.S. lawmakers introduced a new bill aimed at ensuring right to repair.