Colorado House Advances Repair Bill
Colorado's House Passes Bill Giving Farmers Right to Repair Ag Equipment
LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Six weeks after the American Farm Bureau Federation signed an agreement with John Deere to encourage state farm bureaus not to support or pursue legislation expanding farmers' right to repair their equipment, the Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill that would do just that for farmers and ranchers.
The Consumer Right to Repair Agricultural Equipment Act became the first such legislation to clear a state chamber in 2023. HB23-1011 passed the Colorado State House on a 44-17 vote on Tuesday.
So far, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has not indicated whether he supports the legislation.
Kevin O'Reilly, PIRG right-to-repair campaign director, told DTN his group believes the governor will sign the measure into law if it passes the Colorado Senate, which has until May 10 to pass the bill if lawmakers choose.
"Gov. Polis has not publicly endorsed HB23-1011, but he did sign the powered wheelchair last June," O'Reilly told DTN. "We trust that he would do the same for agricultural right to repair if HB23-1011 reaches his desk."
The wheelchair law signed by Polis gives consumers the right to repair their own wheelchairs.
According to a news release from PIRG, a coalition of farmer and repair advocates support the Colorado bill, including CoPIRG, the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Colorado Cattlemen's Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.
"We think that this bill has a real chance to pass through the Colorado Senate and be signed into law," O'Reilly said.
"By passing and signing the powered wheelchair right-to-repair bill last year, Colorado decision-makers have already shown that they think that people should be able to fix their stuff. We're hopeful that they will reaffirm their status as a national repair leader by empowering farmers to fix their own equipment."
If signed into law, starting on Jan. 1, 2024, manufacturers would be required to "provide parts, embedded software, firmware, tools, or documentation, such as diagnostic, maintenance, or repair manuals, diagrams, or similar information (resources), to independent repair providers and owners of the manufacturer's agricultural equipment to allow an independent repair provider or owner to conduct diagnostic, maintenance, or repair services on the owner's agricultural equipment," according to the text of the bill.
The bill would include agricultural equipment in existing consumer right-to-repair statutes. Those Colorado laws hold that a manufacturer's failure to provide resources to equipment owners would be considered a "deceptive" trade practice.
The state's law already prevents manufacturers from divulging trade secrets to independent repair shops.
So far in 2023, right-to-repair bills have been introduced in 20 states, according to PIRG. Those measures were introduced in Colorado, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Vermont.
Back in January, the AFBF signed a memorandum of understanding that would give farmers and third-party mechanics the ability to pay for subscriptions or access to Deere diagnostic tools and product guides needed to make repairs, https://www.dtnpf.com/….
In recent weeks the Biden administration filed a court document in an ongoing antitrust class-action lawsuit against Deere, backing the farms that filed lawsuits that press the company to provide full access to diagnostic equipment necessary to complete emissions repairs on tractors and combines, https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Rocky Mountain Farmers Union President Chad Franke said in a statement that the legislation is needed to help farmers and ranchers in the state.
"Thanks to technological advancements in modern equipment, less than 2% of the U.S. population not only feeds the rest of the country but exports surplus to world markets," he said.
"However, when this equipment breaks down, farmers and ranchers should have the ability to diagnose and repair their equipment themselves or through independent mechanics, not just through manufacturer authorized mechanics which are no longer located in small rural communities."
Read the legislation: https://www.leg.colorado.gov/…
Read more on DTN:
"Deere Seeks End to Right-to-Repair Case," https://www.dtnpf.com/….
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
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