Hands on a circuit board, using multimeter probes to find errors

Enlarge / Minnesota’s right-to-repair bill is the first to pass in the US that demands broad access to most electronics’ repair manuals, tools, and diagnostic software. Game consoles, medical devices, and other specific gear, however, are exempted. (credit: Getty Images)

It doesn’t cover video game consoles, medical gear, farm or construction equipment, digital security tools, or cars. But in demanding that manuals, tools, and parts be made available for most electronics and appliances, Minnesota’s recently passed right-to-repair bill covers the most ground of any US state yet.

The Digital Right to Repair Bill, passed as part of an omnibus legislation and signed by Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, “fills in many of the loopholes that watered down the New York Right to Repair legislation,” said Nathan Proctor, senior director for the Public Interest Research Group’s right-to-repair campaign, in a post.

New York’s bill, beset by lobbyists, was signed in modified form by Gov. Kathy Hochul late last year. It also exempted motor vehicles and medical devices, as well as devices sold before July 1, 2023, and all “business-to-business” and “business-to-government” devices. The modified bill also allowed manufacturers to sell “assemblies” of parts—like a whole motherboard instead of an individual component, or the entire top case Apple typically provides instead of a replacement battery or keyboard—if an improper individual part installation “heightens the risk of injury.”

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