While the Oklahoma legislative session carries on, at least one battle for equipment dealers is over for this year. As we reported to you earlier in the session, a Right to Repair bill was introduced by representative Tommy Hardin from Ardmore. With lots of engagement from our dealers across the state and a coordinated effort with manufacturers, the legislation has been killed.
The bill, HB 2551, would have forced manufacturers to provide diagnostic equipment, specialty tools, service manuals, and firmware updates to anyone asking for them. Western Equipment Dealers Assn. (WEDA) strongly opposed the legislation as being unnecessary and divisive with far-reaching unintended consequences.
Several arguments were put forward against the bill that were ultimately effective. First, farm equipment is not a consumer good that requires additional consumer regulation. Second, manufacturers already make many of the items available to consumers. Third, industry has made a commitment to deliver all items by 2021 without legislation. Fourth, consumers already have the right to repair, but not modify their equipment. Finally, the bill would likely be unconstitutional as a violation of the contracts clause.
Many legislators have introduced Right to Repair bills without understanding the implications of the bill. The same can be said for this bill in Oklahoma. After discussing the issues this bill raises with leading legislators, the bill was denied a hearing in committee. At this time, we do not expect representative Hardin to re-introduce the bill next session.
Dealer engagement ultimately made the difference in defeating this bill. We need to continue that engagement during the interim and impress upon our elected officials what our legislative priorities are, including stopping future Right to Repair bills.
Contact your association representative, Tag Webb, for more details about this legislation and additional information about being actively involved in WEDA's government affairs efforts.