State-by-state is the best approach for right to repair, says advocacy leader

Gay Gordon-Byrne of the Repair Association says US at least is nearing a tipping point

Interview There's a lot of momentum behind the right-to-repair movement, and if anyone should know, it'd be Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association and longtime repairability advocate.

We spoke with Gordon-Byrne, in an interview you can watch below, to get a sense of the state of the right-to-repair movement in light of the passage of EU repairability laws and news out of Colorado that the state senate approved an expanded right to repair rule.

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"The EU does a much better job, I think, of making requirements on manufacturers related to design. And we're terrible at that here in the US," Gordon-Byrne told us. But combine Europe's approach with US state laws on expanding access to parts and documentation, and the effect "will be very powerful," she predicts. 

Think Apple's decision to switch to USB-C for iPhones - the EU drove that. America is a different beast, however, and it may be more feasible to push for repairability at the state rather than the federal level.

"We looked at … trying to do something nationally right out of the gate back in 2010," Gordon-Byrne said, and that approach failed. State-wide restrictions, which tend to give officials the ability to revoke licenses and make doing business harder, on the other hand, have been quite effective. 

"We've learned from that experience and saying, hey, you know, we need more bills, we need more state laws," Gordon-Byrne told us. To that end, "things have been racing along so quickly in the past six months that it's really become hard for us to keep track," she added. ®

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