The recently signed bill means Californians are free to fix many of their devices and appliances. | Jonathan Lenz/Shutterstock

Consumers in California now have the right to repair some of their electronic devices after Gov. Gavin Newson signed SB 244 into law Oct. 10. 

Under SB 244, authored by Sen. Susan Eggman, manufacturers are required to make tools and parts available to repair facilities and owners of certain products on “fair and reasonable” terms starting July 1, 2024. The law will retroactively cover products manufactured for the first time or first sold or used in the state on or after July 1, 2021. 

SB 244 garnered support from 82 independent repair shops, 109 local elected officials, more than 50 environmental and consumer groups, as well as OEMs Apple and HP. It’s the fourth state in the U.S. to enact such a law, following  Colorado, Minnesota and New York

A press release from Californians Against Waste, CALPRIG and iFixit noted that in the past year, 30 states introduced right-to-repair bills and the passage of SB 244 in “the home of Silicon Valley should further energize the Right to Repair movement nationwide, especially because Apple, which had been a longtime opponent, supported California’s bill this summer.” 

Elizabeth Chamberlain, director of sustainability at iFixit, noted that the technology revolution started in California, “so it’s appropriate that we’re working to fix the problems of Big Tech here.”

SB 244 covers televisions, radios, audio or video recorders or playback equipment, video cameras, computers, photocopiers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges, microwave ovens, washers, dryers, dishwashers, trash compactors and air conditioners. It excludes video game consoles and alarm systems.

OEMs are not required to provide lock or security bypasses under the bill, but repair shops are required to disclose whether they are an authorized repair shop or not for the OEM and if they used any used replacement parts provided by a supplier other than the OEM. 

The press release called the law the strongest passed yet. Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for Californians Against Waste, noted in the press release that he hopes the new law “will foster a thriving market for repair businesses and secondhand sales that will make repair the norm, not the exception.” 

“Replacing expensive electronics and appliances at an ever-quickening pace is not only a financial burden on consumers but also drives unsustainable mining and extraction that has a tremendous environmental impact up and down the supply chain,” he added. 

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