Governor Walz signs CR-endorsed measure to provide Minnesota consumers with new rights to repair their digital devices
St. Paul, MN — Minnesota consumers will now have more options for repairing their broken products under an historic right to repair law that promises to help people save money and cut down on waste.
The Minnesota governor today signed right to repair legislation into law as part of a larger omnibus bill (SF 2744) approved by the state legislature.
The right to repair language is based on CR’s model bill. Minnesota now has the most comprehensive right to repair law in the United States, giving consumers the right to fix—or have an independent repair shop of their choosing fix— a wide variety of products that rely upon digital electronics to function in whole or in part, rather than being forced to go through the device manufacturer.
New York passed a digital right to repair law in December 2022 that focuses on consumers’ phones, tablets, and laptops. The Minnesota law covers all of those products, as well as smart appliances, business computers, and other kinds of electronics.
Laurel Lehman, policy analyst for Consumer Reports, said, “This is a big deal for Minnesota consumers, and it creates momentum to extend these rights to people across the country. It’s the strongest, broadest right-to-repair law in the nation. The Digital Fair Repair Act ensures that Minnesotans will have the ability to exercise their full rights of ownership over products they purchase—including the right to get those products repaired. We thank Senator Kupec and Representative Fischer for leading the fight for the right to repair in Minnesota. Minnesota’s new law offers a powerful example for other states and Congress to follow. We are especially thrilled that Minnesota’s legislature has stood strong in the face of industry lobbying, and that consumers can expect the law to apply to all goods sold on or after July 1, 2021, so that consumers may start seeing results for devices they already own sooner rather than later. No more can manufacturers duck—or gray duck, for that matter—what’s owed to Minnesota consumers in search of repair!”
The bill contains exemptions for information technology equipment intended for critical infrastructure, and does not require provisioning parts, tools, or documentation that could reasonably be used to compromise cybersecurity. In practice, allowing third-party sellers to repair consumer devices at competitive prices will likely improve the consumer cybersecurity ecosystem.
CR has long supported the right to repair. In addition to supporting similar bills in states around the country, CR has incorporated the right to repair into the Digital Standard, a set of best practices that CR uses to evaluate the privacy and security of software, digital platforms and services, and internet-connected products, as well as to help influence the design of these products.
According to a nationally representative survey carried out by Consumer Reports in November-December 2021, 84% of Americans said they agreed with a policy to require manufacturers to make repair information and parts available either to independent repair professionals or to product owners.
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