Nebraska is standing up for its right to repair.
In January, Senator Ken Haar introduced a Fair Repair Bill (LB1072), which would require manufacturers to share diagnostic software and repair information with owners and independent repair technicians. Fair Repair principles are critical in the heartlands of Nebraska—where farmers and ranchers often have little other choice for their farm equipment but expensive dealership repairs.
A Nebraska Fair Repair bill would give consumers—and especially farmers—more option for how to repair with their broken equipment. It would give them choices—to repair it on their own or take it to an independent repair shop of their choice.
Last week, the bill went before the Judiciary Committee for a hearing. The Repair Association’s Executive Director, Gay Gordon-Byrne, was there to testify in support of LB1072—and the right of Nebraskans to repair the things that they own.
Here’s an excerpt from her testimony:
The digital world does not have any ground rules for repair. Without options for repair, consumers are stuck with whatever limited repair services the manufacturer chooses to offer. Farmers, business, industry, education and government are also consumers and big users of repair services. Without competition, repair becomes monopolized. We believe that monopolies are always bad, even when we like the products.
Repair monopolies are bad for consumers for exactly the same reasons as product monopolies. Without competition, consumers pay more. Without competition, service quality goes down, availability and flexibility go down, and innovation is stalled.
Many of us have personal relationships with the dealerships, distributors, and authorized repair techs that help us. Healthy competition doesn’t destroy those jobs—it adds jobs. Particularly in support of out of warranty equipment that manufacturers have abandoned but consumers have not. Unlocking the option of repair for out of warranty devices will enable an explosion of repair work.
Limitations on repair do great harm to the efficiency of agriculture. If repair is not readily available directly under the control of the farmer, crops cannot be planted and harvested at critical times. It is wholly unacceptable that farmers can repair their cars and trucks, but not their farm equipment. Nebraska legislators are in the ideal position to assure repair is readily available for all forms of high-tech agriculture.
In consideration of these issues, we urge you to join us in supporting the rights of all consumers to repair their purchases as they see fit.”
The committee was generally supportive of our position, and has decided to create a "Study Group" to work on Fair Repair legislation for the next session. We look forward to furthering the principles of Fair Repair in Nebraska. If you’re a Nebraska resident, you can still show your support of Fair Repair here: https://nebraska.repair.org/