SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

October 18, 2012

Question 1: Legislators say never mind on Right to Repair

Compromise bill passed at the Statehouse differs from ballot

DANVERS — Ted Speliotis has two words for Massachusetts voters this November: “Never mind.”

The Right to Repair Coalition can top that with “Never mind” and “Never mind again.” Even so, it’s likely that the Legislature will have the last word.

Speliotis wants voters to skip Question 1 on the state ballot, the Right to Repair bill that would require car companies — from Ford to General Motors to Toyota — to reveal the computer software codes that help keep their products running. Open codes allow independent repair people to fix the vehicles.

It’s a cause with a lot of support. Many worry that freezing the neighborhood repair shop out of complex repairs gives dealerships a kind of monopoly leading to higher prices. Additionally, more information allows other companies to produce generic auto parts, again at lower costs.

But as chairman of the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Speliotis worked for three years on getting the various parties to agree to a compromise, which passed during the summer. He believes the new law is an improvement on the ballot question and thinks it will provide a template for other states.

The prospect that most voters would agree and vote for the ballot measure probably contributed to the willingness of the car companies to reach a compromise on the issue.

“Clearly, people want Right to Repair,” Speliotis said.

The compromise makes some allowances on behalf of the car companies that the ballot measure does not, Speliotis said. For example, under both measures, information will have to be made available to repair shops starting on Nov. 6. Under the Legislature’s bill, standardized diagnostic tool requirements would have to be complied with in 2018. The ballot initiative, by contrast, would mandate that it be done by 2015. In addition, the compromise bill protects trade secrets and security measures, such as electronic keys.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Election

Local News
  • Vehicle Day 2 PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Vehicle Day at Ipswich Public Library Kids got to climb inside big trucks at Vehicle Day Friday, July 25, at Ipswich Public Library.

    July 26, 2014

  • 140725_ET_PBI_MBRALLY_7 [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Thousands rally for Arthur T. in Tewksbury

    TEWKSBURY -- Air horns blared. Signs were hoisted. There were plush giraffes, construction paper giraffes, giraffes on T-shirts and hand drawn giraffes peppered the parking lot of the Market Basket at Stadium Plaza, just down the street from the com

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos 7 Stories

  • 140725_ET_PBI_MBRALLY_1.jpg PHOTO SLIDESHOW: MARKET BASKET RALLY Thousands of people converged at the site of the Tewksbury store this morning for another rally by employees and supporters who feel disenfranchised by the ouster of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas by the company board of directors led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas.

    July 25, 2014

  • Hamilton church volunteers assaulted in Guatemala

    A local church group returning to Guatemala City airport after eight days of mission work was attacked Tuesday.

    July 25, 2014

  • BREAKING: Market Basket board to consider sale to Arthur T. Demoulas

    BOSTON — Market Basket’s board of directors this afternoon announced it will consider offers to buy the company, including that from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered “along with any other offers previously received and to b

    July 25, 2014 7 Stories