New York to Revamp and Strengthen 2022 Right-to-Repair Law

Date: April 5, 2024

Source: News Room

New York, the first U.S. state to pass a right-to-repair law covering electronics, may also become the first state to amend such a law. Assemblymember Patricia Fahy introduced Assembly Bill 8955 on January 30, which proposes modifications to the Digital Fair Repair Act. The bill aims to adjust the definition of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), extend the compliance date for hardware manufacture by two years, and repeal certain product exclusions. The original act, passed in 2022, mandated OEMs to provide diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment to independent repair providers and consumers but included numerous exemptions and only applied to devices manufactured after July 1, 2023.

AB 8955 seeks to address perceived weaknesses in the original legislation by changing the covered product manufacture date to July 1, 2021, removing exemptions for business-to-business and business-to-government equipment, and adding home appliances to the list of covered equipment. The bill also clarifies that an OEM offering services for the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of its digital electronic equipment shall be considered an authorized repair provider for such equipment. Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association, expressed that the amendments aim to rectify loopholes resulting from interventions by trade association TechNet and changes made by Governor Kathy Hochul before signing the original bill. The proposed changes are intended to remove ambiguities, making compliance and enforcement more straightforward for manufacturers and buyers alike. Recyclers, environmental groups and consumers have long fought for Right to Repair laws, and the passage and amendment ofthis bill further empowers the fight against e-waste, one of the most harmful forms of waste produced. Hopefully an increasing number of legislatures, at the local, state and federal levels, will begin to introduce and pass Right to Repair laws, which will both increase the demand for recycled rare earths and reduce the production of harmful e-waste.

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