, Salem, MA


November 6, 2012

Massachusetts voters decide three ballot questions

Despite a new law offering a compromise on the issue, the Right to Repair law passed by a substantial margin in yesterday’s election. Even so, the controversy may not have ended.

The measure is designed to allow consumers to take their vehicles to local repair shops rather than the car dealers who sold them.

How the North Shore Voted: Question 1

Right now, all the high-tech codes and computerization can potentially give dealers a monopoly on repairing the cars they produce. The new measure was designed to compel them to reveal the information needed for anybody to fix their cars. It also would allow independent manufacturers to produce aftermarket or generic parts.

Now here’s the rub. Last summer, car companies and advocates of Right to Repair conferred with the Legislature and Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis’ Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and reached a compromise, which was promptly signed by the governor.

The compromise gives the car companies a little more time to prepare for turning over their information and gives their trade secrets a little more protection.

For better or worse, the compromise legislation was signed too late to take Question 1 off the ballot. Then advocates of Question 1 announced they weren’t on board with the compromise and urged voters to back Right to Repair.

They did exactly that, but it might not matter, as Speliotis previously indicated that the Legislature would “probably” allow its compromise to stand in place of the ballot measure.

How the North Shore Voted: Question 3

Question 3, legalizing the use of marijuana for medical reasons, such as relief of pain or nausea, passed, as well. Supporters advocated the law as a matter of providing good medicine to the sick. Some patients say marijuana can be effective where other drugs are inadequate, in patients with everything from AIDS to glaucoma. Patients would need a doctor’s prescription to obtain marijuana legally, and a limited number of shops (35) would be allowed across the state.

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