California Lawmakers Unanimously Pass Right to Repair Legislation

The bill previously unanimously passed the state Senate, meaning right to repair is very close to passing in America's most populous state.
California Lawmakers Unanimously Pass Right to Repair Legislation
Image: iFixit

The California state assembly unanimously passed an electronics right to repair bill 50-0 on Tuesday, a major hurdle toward ultimate passage of what would be the country’s strongest and most expansive piece of legislation protecting consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets. A similar bill previously unanimously passed the state Senate and now has the support of Apple, a longtime opponent of the legislation.

The bill now will head back to the Senate for a final vote (there are very small, unsubstantial differences between what previously passed in the Senate and what passed in the Assembly), and then will go to Gov. Gavin Newsom. The law requires electronics manufacturers to sell repair tools and parts to consumers and to make repair guides available to the general public. If Newsom signs the bill into law, it will be a victory not just for Californians but for consumers everywhere, because so many people live in California that it would be difficult to keep access to parts, guides, and tools limited to people in California only (and it’s not clear that any manufacturer would want to, anyway).

“This is a victory for every Californian. We can thank the scrappy group of tinkerers, consumers, environmentalists and small business owners who came together to take on the tech industry and win back the right to fix our own stuff,” Jenn Engstrom, state director of consumer rights group CALPIRG, said in a statement. “When you buy something, you should be able to do what you want with it. But when it comes to repair, for too long, electronics manufacturers have made it difficult to live by that core principle. Right to repair makes sense on multiple levels: it’s better for the planet and saves consumers money.”

California would become the third state to pass right to repair legislation for consumer electronics, after New York and Minnesota passed laws earlier this year. Late last month, after spending millions and years fighting right to repair legislation, Apple said it would stop fighting against the California bill and would throw its support behind it. Maybe it’s appropriate that this would happen, then, on the day Apple announced the iPhone 15 (and mentioned repair in its keynote for the first time).