301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

3.28.24 – SIW – John Dobberstein

Right-to-repair legislation that does not exempt alarm systems or other security equipment has been signed into law in Oregon.

The Right to Repair Association says Gov. Tina Kotek enacted the most ambitious RTR law to date, “fundamentally altering the landscape of repair rights and setting a new benchmark for the nation.”

The State’s Legislative Assembly says reusing, repairing and extending the product life of electronics is a “critical component” of the state’s 2050 Vision and Framework for Action that ordains that that repairing and reusing electronics reduces waste, greenhouse gas emissions and raw material use.

The Assembly also believes barriers to repairing electronics make access to technology difficult by increasing costs.

Under SB 1596, any manufacturer that refuses to make its repair processes and tools available could be sued by the Oregon attorney general and face fines of up to $1,000 a day.

The Oregon statute appears to be an outlier, as some other states that have advanced R2R legislation have either enacted or proposed an alarm exemption when presented with the alarm industry’s concerns. New York and California done so, while five other states have pending R2R bills with an alarm exemption included.

The Monitoring Association, which has been working with several states to gain exemptions for security and alarm-related equipment, is aware of the Oregon law but declined to comment at this time. The Security Industry Association did not respond to a request for comment.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that advocates of the bill say they’ve made changes that address concerns that surfaced in a bill that failed last year. That includes language to better protect device makers’ intellectual property and address security concerns, both points that opponents highlighted in 2023. 

The Right to Repair Association says the act “enshrines the right of consumers to repair their devices wherever they choose but also places a crucial check on the restrictive practice of parts pairing.”

For the first time, the association says, manufacturers are required to provide access to parts, tools, documentation and software for products made as far back as 2015, — excluding smartphones, which are covered from July 1, 2021.

“This retrospective application is a pioneering move, ensuring that the devices Oregonians rely on daily, from laptops and smartwatches to refrigerators and smart toasters, can remain functional and part of our lives for longer,” RTRA says.

“This legislation covers almost everything with a chip, barring a few exemptions like medical devices and farm equipment. The exclusion list not only maps out the industries with the strongest opposition but also outlines the next battlefronts for our movement.”

John Dobberstein is managing editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and oversees all content creation for the website. Dobberstein continues a 34-year decorated journalism career that has included stops at a variety of newspapers and B2B magazines.