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Mass. Senators Delay Vote on R2R Bill

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The Massachusetts Senate vote on the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act – which was supposed to take place April 5 – has been delayed. The Senate approved a motion to table the pending legislation until its next session.

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Senate Bill 2204 would require that vehicle manufacturers make available for purchase the same service information and tools they already provide to their franchised dealers. Failure to comply would result in a fine of at least $10,000 for each violation.

After 2015, the information would have to be available on an online database, for which manufacturers could charge a subscription fee. A similar law failed to pass at the federal level in 2001.

The Massachusetts Right to Repair ballot measure was approved by the commonwealth’s attorney general last September. The measure was subsequently certified by the secretary of state after the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition submitted more than 100,000 signatures in support of Right to Repair from Massachusetts registered voters.

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If the legislature does not take action to enact the bill by May 2, the measure will appear on the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot.
Arthur Kinsman of Plympton, a member of the Massachusetts Right to Repair coalition, said he was surprised at the action but added the delay would not affect the bill’s chances. “We are pleased that they brought the bill to the floor,” Kinsman said in an interview. “It doesn’t mean it’s over; we expect a vote soon.”

He noted the bill passed unanimously in the senate when his group last pushed for it. The bill had been stuck in the Consumer Protection Committee, and the Senate Ways and Means Committee used a procedural rule to fast-track the bill to a floor vote.

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