Right to Repair Act has to start over in N.J.

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The New Jersey General Assembly passed its Right to Repair Act by more than a two-to-one margin, advancing the state bill further than ever before. However, the bill will have to be reintroduced and work its way through the legislative process because the New Jersey Senate ran out of time before taking up right to repair legislation.

According to the state legislature's Web site, the New Jersey Constitution "provides that each legislature is constituted for a term of two years, split into two annual sessions. Because the Constitution also specifies that all business from the first year may be continued into the second year, the distinction between the two annual sessions is more ceremonial than actual.

"The two-year legislative term begins at noon on the second Tuesday in January of each even-numbered year. At the end of the second year, all unfinished business expires."

Charles Bryant, executive director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of NJ (AASP-NJ), was disappointed, but commended the New Jersey State Assembly "for having the courage to stand up to special interests and pass the Right to Repair Act out of their chamber.”

The bill had 10 Senate co-sponsors and was supported by such organizations as the American Automobile Association (AAA); the National Federation of Independent Businesses; New Jersey Citizen Action; the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Automotive Association; the New Jersey branch of the National Federation of Independent Business; the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association; and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“New Jersey consumers must have the option of taking their vehicle to a dealer or an independent repair facility of their choosing," says Fredrick Gruel, chairman of the AAA Clubs of New Jersey. "Whether they choose a dealer, an independent or, for that matter, if they do the repair themselves, it does not matter.

"But until they have that choice, they do not fully own their vehicle. The Right to Repair Act will provide that choice.‪”

The bill would have required vehicle manufacturers to make accurate information, tools and software needed to maintain and service late model vehicles easily accessible to repair shops.

“The Right to Repair Coalition wants to thank Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, prime-sponsor of Assembly Bill 803, 'Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act,' and all of the co-sponsors for their hard work on behalf of New Jersey car owners to ensure that they would continue to enjoy a competitive vehicle repair market,” says Sal Risalvato, executive director of the NJGCA.

“The coalition hopes that next year, the Senate will take up the interests of motorists who have already been battered by a tough economy and move to pass the Right to Repair Act.”

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