California, the home to many of tech’s biggest companies and the nation’s most populous state, is pushing ahead with a right-to-repair bill for consumer electronics and appliances. After unanimous votes in the state Assembly and Senate, the bill passed yesterday is expected to move through a concurrence vote and be signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Since Right to Repair can pass here, expect it to be on its way to a backyard near you,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens in a statement. iFixit, a seller of repair parts and tools and advocate for right-to-repair laws, based in San Luis Obispo, California, was joined in its support for the California repair law by another California company with a history of opposing repair laws: Apple. The consumer tech giant’s letter urging passage of the bill was surprising, to say the least, though Apple said that the bill’s stipulations for “individual users’ safety” and “product manufacturers’ intellectual property” were satisfactory.
California’s bill goes further than right-to-repair laws in other states. Rather than limiting its demand that companies provide parts, tools, repair manuals, and necessary software for devices that are still actively sold, California requires that vendors provide those items for products sold after July 1, 2021, starting in July 2024. Products costing $50 to $99.99 must be accompanied by those items for three years, and items $100 and more necessitate seven years. The bill also provides for stronger enforcement mechanisms, allowing for municipalities to bring superior court cases rather than contact the state attorney general.