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RVIA Scores a Victory in ‘Right to Repair’ Issue

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September 20, 2012 by   Leave a Comment

In a significant legislative victory, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) was able to secure an amendment excluding all RVs from a compromise bill negotiated by automotive manufacturers and independent auto mechanics and passed by the Massachusetts legislature in July to address the state’s controversial “Right to Repair” issue.

Despite the passage of the bill, the issue will still go to the voters as a ballot initiative that does not include any of the negotiated language included in the legislative compromise, which came after a deadline to modify or stop the ballot initiative sought by the independent mechanics.

The complicated “Right to Repair” issue, which would force auto manufacturers to give independent auto mechanics in Massachusetts access to repair data and diagnostic codes now available only to franchised dealers, had been proposed and defeated for a number of years. As originally proposed, RVIA said the legislation would have resulted in “dire unintended consequences and irreconcilable issues for the RV industry.”

Because of inability to achieve a legislative compromise, the “Right to Repair” proponents decided to take their case to the public by securing the ballot initiative while still seeking a legislative solution.

With both the ballot initiative and legislative deadlines looming this summer, the two parties finally reached an agreement that included language sought by auto manufacturers to protect intellectual property rights while still making codes available for purchase to facilitate auto repairs at independent repair shops.

During that process, RVIA was able to secure an amendment excluding all motorhomes and RV trailers from inclusion in any of the bill’s provisions. A compromise bill, including RVIA’s amendment, was drafted, passed and signed into law in near record time.

Though too late to stop the ballot initiative, the two sides are now united in their effort to educate the public that they no longer should vote to pass the ballot initiative and they jointly engaged in a communications plan to inform voters that the initiative is no longer necessary.

In the event the ballot initiative does pass, it would supersede the enacted legislation agreed to by both parties and the two sides would have to re-introduce their negotiated bill and get it passed again. Should the bill need to be reintroduced, RVIA will again be involved in the process to protect the RV industry’s interests.

“This was a very complex legislative issue,” said Jay Landers, RVIA’s senior director of government affairs. “The good news is that the two parties are working cooperatively to insure that the negotiated legislative language, which includes the RV exemption, is ultimately adopted.”

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