Right to Repair Triumphs in Maine Referendum

Right to Repair Triumphs in Maine Referendum

At press time, more than 80% of Maine voters had answered “yes” to Ballot Question 4.

Right to Repair has notched another victory.

On Nov. 7, Ballot Question 4 in Maine asked this question: “Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?”

At press time, more than 80% of Maine voters had answered “yes,” ensuring that vehicle owners and the independent repair shops of their choice can access the diagnostic tools and data necessary for routine repairs.

“The result of [Tuesday’s] election in Maine proved another victory for the American consumer and the Right-to-Repair movement that is gaining support across the United States,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “The right to repair is one of a few unifying issues our nation faces, and whether we achieve repair access chamber by chamber or state by state, I am confident that every American will soon have the fundamental right to repair what belongs to them. Right to repair isn’t going away and this victory demonstrates that it’s an issue that needs to be resolved.” 

The Maine vote comes after movement on the federal level to advance the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act (H.R. 906). Last week, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee unanimously voted to advance the bipartisan REPAIR Act to the full committee for consideration.

“Maine voters’ overwhelming show of support for Question 4 adds momentum to the growing national push for right-to-repair protections,” CAR Coalition Executive Director Justin Rzepka said. “The CAR Coalition will continue this important fight at the federal level with bipartisan bills like the SMART and REPAIR Acts to ensure every American – no matter where they live – has the right to repair the car they own.”

Meanwhile, John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said the results in Maine were “disappointing but hardly surprising.”

“Out-of-state, big-box auto retailers – that don’t speak for independent auto repairers – spent nearly $5 million trying to scare Mainers into thinking that the right to repair their vehicles was going away,” Bozzella said in a statement. “It will not go away. Automotive Right to Repair already exists. Mainers can get their vehicle repaired anywhere, anytime, anyplace. That was true yesterday, and it’s true today and tomorrow.”

Tommy Hickey, director of the Maine Automotive Right to Repair Coalition, told the Portland Press Herald that the next step is to meet with Maine’s attorney general and help guide the state on the best approach for implementing the law.

In the news article, Hickey called Maine and Massachusetts the “godfathers” of the Right-to-Repair movement.

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