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Washingtonians overwhelmingly favor right to repair bill for electronics, NPI poll finds

Leg­is­la­tion that would help Wash­ing­to­ni­ans get their bro­ken or dam­aged elec­tron­ics repaired is over­whelm­ing­ly pop­u­lar and ought to be act­ed on dur­ing the 2022 ses­sion, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute advised mem­bers of the House Com­mit­tee on Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion & Busi­ness this morning.

69% of like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for NPI about two months ago backed a bill intro­duced by Mia Gregerson (House Bill 1810) that aims to pro­mote “the fair ser­vic­ing and repair of dig­i­tal elec­tron­ic prod­ucts in a safe, secure, reli­able, and sus­tain­able manner.”

A mere 13% were opposed, while 18% said they were not sure.

As sum­ma­rized by non­par­ti­san com­mit­tee staff in their bill analy­sis, HB 1810 would com­bat elec­tron­ic waste and planned obso­les­cence by requir­ing OEMs (orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers) to “make doc­u­men­ta­tion, parts, and tools avail­able to own­ers and inde­pen­dent repair providers on fair and rea­son­able terms, or pro­vide a train­ing pro­gram and allow any licensed Wash­ing­ton busi­ness to obtain cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a man­u­fac­tur­er cer­ti­fied repair facility.”

Auto­mo­biles and med­ical devices would be exempt from the new require­ments of HB 1810, and OEMs would not be required to divulge trade secrets. OEMs are also not liable for repairs per­formed by inde­pen­dent repair providers. Enforce­ment of the law would be han­dled sole­ly by the Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office.

HB 1810 is a more pol­ished ver­sion of a sim­i­lar bill that was intro­duced last ses­sion but did not advance through the leg­isla­tive process for a floor vote. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mia Gregerson has worked tire­less­ly over the inter­im to tweak the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion and grow sup­port for it. Gregerson men­tioned at today’s hear­ing that Microsoft is now neu­tral on the bill, instead of being opposed.

Pro­po­nents of the bill include Wash­PIRG, Red Queen Dynam­ics, Zero Waste Wash­ing­ton, FiX­CO, Inter­Con­nec­tion, iFix­it, the Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Busi­ness, and Share The Cities Action Fund, in addi­tion to NPI.

Here is the full ques­tion that we asked and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture is con­sid­er­ing a “right to repair” bill that would require man­u­fac­tur­ers of dig­i­tal elec­tron­ics such as smart­phones and lap­top com­put­ers to pro­vide diag­nos­tic and repair infor­ma­tion about their prod­ucts to indi­vid­u­als and inde­pen­dent repair busi­ness­es. Man­u­fac­tur­ers would also be oblig­at­ed to pro­vide equip­ment or ser­vice parts for pur­chase on fair and rea­son­able terms but would not be required to sell equip­ment or parts that are no longer avail­able. Motor vehi­cles and med­ical devices would be exempt from the new require­ments. Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose or strong­ly oppose enact­ing a “right to repair” bill in Wash­ing­ton State?


  • Sup­port: 69% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 39%
    • Some­what sup­port: 30%
  • Oppose: 13%
    • Some­what oppose: 9%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 4%
  • Not Sure: 18%

Three times as many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans are strong­ly sup­port as opposed in total, and over­all sup­port is extreme­ly high, with about sev­en in ten like­ly vot­ers favor­ing the bill. Those are real­ly great numbers.

As I told the com­mit­tee: When sup­port is this high — in the high six­ties, sev­en­ties, or above —  it’s evi­dence that the idea we’re research­ing enjoys robust and broad sup­port across many dif­fer­ent groups of voters.

We do live in polar­ized times, but right to repair is some­thing that most Wash­ing­to­ni­ans can enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly get behind.

Our sur­vey of 909 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, Novem­ber 10th through Thurs­day, Novem­ber 11th, 2021.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

More infor­ma­tion about the survey’s method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here.

HB 1810 has already been sched­uled for exec­u­tive ses­sion next week by Chair Steve Kir­by, which is a very encour­ag­ing sign. If the bill is report­ed out with a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion, it will head to House Rules. If lead­er­ship signs off, the bill will be pulled to the floor for a vote at some point for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion and sent over to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate. Should the Sen­ate also act on the bill, HB 1810 could end up on Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk by the end of winter.

Andrew Villeneuve

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