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Mass. ‘Right to Repair Coalition’ Announces Boost in Membership, Legislation Re-File

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Citing growth in its statewide membership since last year, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition announced the legislation has been re-filed for the 2011-12 legislative session in Massachusetts. The legislation would provide non-dealership repair shops with access to OEM repair data equal to that of dealerships.

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The coalition says it achieved success last year by raising awareness of the need to enact legislation that would require OEMs to sell needed repair information to non-dealer repair shops. As it stands now, the coalition claims that not all of the necessary repair information is available to independent repair shops.

Formal sessions for the Massachusetts Legislature ended on July 31, 2010, and although the Right to Repair legislation passed the Senate unanimously, the House of Representatives was unable to take action on the bill before the session ended.

“We support the Right to Repair bill because it simply makes good sense for our members and for all motorists,” says Mary Maguire, director of public and legislative affairs at AAA Southern New England. “Passage of Right to Repair will provide drivers with more affordable choices and greater convenience when it comes to car repair, and that represents a real victory for the motoring public."

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The 2011 legislation is sponsored by Rep. Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham) and Sen. John Hart (D-South Boston) and has over 60 co-sponsors, which is more than last year, the coalition reported.

“What this bill is really about is ensuring our constituents will always have a choice to have their vehicles repaired at a shop of their choice.  Given the tough economy we’re in, we have to remember that consumers pay a lot for their cars and for repairs, so they should get it fixed where they want,” said Rep. Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham).

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition says it has more than doubled in size since the last legislative session to 33 organizations.

“There are 32,000 people who put food on the table by working in Massachusetts’ independent auto repair industry. You’ll find them on every corner on every main street in every neighborhood. Right to Repair will protect these jobs, the small independent businesses they work for, and most importantly their customer’s right to choose them to get their cars fixed,”  said Art Kinsman, the spokesman for the Right to Repair Coalition.

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Members of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition include National Grange, AAA Southern New England, the American Military Society, the Massachusetts Independent Auto, New England Tire and Service Association, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Dealers, The National Federation of Independent Businesses, Bridgestone, Firestone, American Car Care Centers, the Massachusetts Insurance Federation, Midas, Consumer Electronics Association, Massachusetts Locksmith’s Association, the Automotive Recyclers Association, the Coalition for Auto Repair Equity and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.

The Automotive Service Association (ASA) says it opposes Right to Repair legislation, as the group believes OEM repair information is already accessible to independent repairers.

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