Minnesota has passed a groundbreaking right-to-repair law, which requires electronics manufacturers to allow independent repair shops and consumers to buy necessary parts and tools to repair their own equipment. This law, which was signed by Governor Tim Walz in April 2023, is part of an omnibus appropriations bill.
The new rules will take effect on July 1st, 2024, and will cover products sold on or after July 1st, 2021. If manufacturers sell a product in the state, they must offer residents the equipment to repair it on “fair and reasonable” terms within 60 days, and they must offer documentation for performing repairs and service free of charge. Failure to do so will violate Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices statute and open manufacturers up to penalties from the attorney general.
While Minnesota is not the first state to have broad right-to-repair rules, it is the first state to offer such protections for home appliances and commercial and educational computing systems, which were carved out of New York’s law. However, the new rules do not apply to some notable categories, including farm equipment, game consoles, medical devices, and motor vehicles.
Right-to-repair advocates are optimistic about Minnesota’s rules, with Nathan Proctor, who leads the right-to-repair initiative at public interest group PIRG, calling it “the biggest right to repair win to date.”
“With online documentation, people everywhere in the world — not just in Minnesota — will benefit from this,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens.
It’s important to note that the rules were narrowed during negotiations over the bill, and game consoles, farm equipment and cybersecurity tools have been carved out. However, overall, the right-to-repair community is pleased with the progress made in Minnesota.
Other states, such as Colorado, are also pushing for right-to-repair efforts for specific equipment categories. Colorado’s governor signed a law guaranteeing repair options for farm equipment last month.
Overall, Minnesota’s new right-to-repair law is a significant step forward in protecting consumers’ rights to repair their own electronics. It remains to be seen how manufacturers will respond to these new rules, but the hope is that they will lead to more repairable products and less electronic waste.