Oregon Passes the Right to Repair 

Oregon Passes the Right to Repair 
Electronic Security Association — June 4, 2024

Oregon Passes the Right to Repair 

By Jake Braunger 

On February 5th, 2024, a Right to Repair bill was introduced in the Oregon state senate. 15 days later the senate passed it and it arrived at the state house. On March 4th it was passed by the house and moved to Governor Kotek for her signature or veto. Unfortunately, the Governor signed the bill on March 26th, 2024, despite a heavy amount of opposition from ESA members and industry allies. 

Now, the speed at which this bill moved is not the problem. The session was set to go from February 5th until March 7th. The Governor then has a short window to decide whether to sign or veto the legislation that passed. 

However, the author of the bill, state senator Janeen Sollman, claimed she had been working with countless people on both sides of the issue to gain their buy-in. No one from the industry seemed to have received an invitation to join in the process though. During testimony in front of the House Business and Labor Committee the senator claimed that they used the California right to repair bill as the blueprint. The California bill has clear exemption language protecting the security and life safety industry, and the Oregon bill does not.  

ESA members such as Kirk MacDowell of Macguard Security Advisors (based in Oregon) and Dr. Shane Clary of Bay Alarm Company testified in opposition in front of the same house committee. It quickly became clear that the legislators were confused by the concerns. They thought the bill was something focused on repairing cell phones and tablet devices. That is because the remainder of the opposition came from Apple. One state representative who is a firefighter even dismissed the concerns to life safety devices outright in what was a shocking revelation. Most first responders would not want to have an increase in false alarms, or worse respond to an event where the alarms failed.  

I personally also testified and was stunned that most of the representatives seemed to prefer to pass it because their colleague on the senate side claimed to have already done her homework. Multiple people testifying in favor of the right to repair claimed that they were not sure if 1) we were even going to be included as a consumer electronic device and 2) if we are we should not worry because the independent repair shops will get certified. We are included, the certification process is not the same as our industry’s licensing requirements in Oregon, and it doesn’t address that a purchaser of the product can demand access to product manuals, repair equipment, and lockout codes of security and life safety devices, and then begin a “repair” of devices that might not belong to them. 

Our industry is not done fighting this issue. The legislation takes effect on January 1, 2025, on consumer electronic devices where repairs are offered but fines for violating the legislation do not take effect until July 1, 2027. This means the industry needs to get to work right away to fix the law. We do not want manufacturers making products, they then will have to teach people how to hack, nor do we want integrators attempting to sell such vulnerable systems. It would defeat the purpose of having a security device if it is so easily defeated by simply purchasing the same model. 

Over the last year ESA and the industry have celebrated many victories against the Right to Repair. New York, Minnesota, and California passed legislation that had clear exemption language. States like Hawaii, Illinois, and Arizona have built legislation with that unambiguous language included. Other states have tried to pass the legislation and it has been outright defeated. However, Oregon is a major problem, and it only takes one to upset the apple cart. The industry needs to work with the legislature to add in new language and, if unsuccessful, consider ending any repair services on devices sold in the state. The irony with the latter approach would be the claim that Right to Repair legislation will reduce electronic waste and allow people to maintain their products for longer. A classic example of unintended consequences in policymaking.