Starting July 1st, 2024, Minnesota will enact the right-to-repair law allowing consumers and independent repair shops access to the parts and tools needed to fix their own equipment. Signed by Governor Tim Walz on May 24th, 2023, the law will cover most products sold before July 1st, 2021.
In an announcement, Nathan Proctor, Senior Director for U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair Campaign, had this to say:
“This is the biggest Right to Repair win to date. Minnesotans know that when things break, you fix them. And when manufacturers refuse to let us access what we need for the repair, you fix the law to make them cooperate. Repairs cut waste and save consumers money. It’s common sense, and it is becoming increasingly clear that manufacturers’ attempts to thwart repair will no longer be tolerated. Minnesota won’t be the last state to codify that.”
So, as of the summer of next year, manufacturers selling products will be required to allow Minnesota residents the necessary equipment for repairing items with “fair and reasonable” terms as well as offer “documentation for performing repairs and service free of charge.” If manufacturers fail to do so within 60 days, they will be in violation of Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices and are subject to facing strict fines and possibly other penalties.
While this law covers a large number of items, not all equipment will be included, such as gaming consoles, medical devices, farming equipment, specialized cybersecurity tools, or motorized vehicles. The new law will also only apply to items sold in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s new law isn’t the first right-to-repair bill passed, but it certainly is more aligned with the concept. New York has already passed such a law, but it is significantly more restricted in terms. Colorado and Massachusetts also have their own varieties of the law in place. Minnesota’s bill makes it the first state to open the right-to-repair rules to home appliances in addition to commercial, business, and educational products, unlike New York’s law.
This is a big move that will help both consumers and independent repair shops. More states are considering enacting such legislation while supporters of the right-to-repair movement are saying they have no plans to stop advocating any time soon.