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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- On Monday, the state House Economic Matters Committee voted to not pursue HB84. This bill, sponsored by Del. Jessica Feldmark, would have expanded access to what Marylanders need to repair electronic equipment.
Among the public, Right to Repair is a broadly popular idea, as evidenced by recent editorials from the Baltimore Sun and the Cumberland Times-News. However product manufacturers who benefit from restricted access to repair strongly oppose the concept. The committee rejected HB84 even though it garnered bipartisan support in the legislature and backing from Attorney General Brian Frosh, consumer groups, environmentalists, farmers and the Maryland Farm Bureau, cybersecurity experts, and independent repair technicians.
A state Senate version of the bill, introduced by Sen.Katie Fry Hester, has yet to receive a vote in the Senate Finance Committee.
Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr issued the following statement in response:
“It's getting harder and more expensive for people across Maryland to fix our products. We are very disappointed the House Economic Matters Committee decided not to expand access to repair for Maryland consumers.
“Repair restrictions are anti-consumer, hurt the environment, exacerbate the digital divide, and are harming our farmers.
“Opposition to restrictions on repair isn’t going away, so we hope the Maryland Senate will decide to move the ball forward this year with policy to strengthen consumer protections. Bottom line: Maryland PIRG wants more Marylanders to be able to repair more of the products that they’ve purchased.”
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