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‘Right to Repair’ passage won’t be a major issue
By Ira Kantor/ BostonHerald.com
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Two “Right to Repair” laws that require automakers to provide vehicle owners and independent repair shops with access to their diagnostic systems, but contain different language won’t put up any roadblocks, advocates said today.
     
     “I don’t think it’s a huge problem. As of today the vast majority of people are covered. That’s not going to change,” said Art Kinsman, spokesman for the Right to Repair Coalition. “It’s certainly possible to work out the differences in the two proposals. The large margin suggests we ought to do that very carefully and not be dismissive of voters’ wishes.”
     
     The “Right to Repair” ballot question — Question 1 — passed yesterday with an overwhelming 85 percent of the state vote.
     
     Signatures to place the question on the ballot were submitted to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office at the beginning of July, just weeks before the state Legislature approved a compromised version of the “Right to Repair” law, which took effect in the state yesterday, Kinsman said.
     
     “We need to take a deep breath and look at this. It took us four years to get us to the point where we’re the first state in the nation to pass a good law,” Kinsman said. “Certainly, it’s wise to be deliberate and do the right thing for vehicle owners.”
     
     Among the proposal differences that need to be addressed is an expanded definition of the term “motor vehicle,” penalty measures in the ballot question, and accelerated scheduling for implementing certain aspects of the law. The ballot question requires all new cars sold in the state to include onboard diagnostic and repair information systems by 2015, while the compromise legislation pushes the rule back three years to 2018.
     
     Yesterday, Dan Gage, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said while the two laws create confusion and uncertainty, automakers “continue to support the negotiated Right to Repair compromise — previously agreed to by all parties — that became law prior to the election.”
     
     “We hope to work with legislators to fully reinstate that joint agreement as soon as possible,” Gage said.
     
     
     
     The Associated Press contributed to this report.

( -— ira.kantor@bostonherald.com )

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