The Missouri Legislature adjourned session on May 13th. This year’s legislative session was a somewhat chaotic one, marked by division and inertia. That was also the case when it came to Right to Repair.
With two bills introduced, this was the fifth year proponents have tried to pass Right to Repair legislation in Missouri. There was a House and Senate version this year that targeted farm and construction machinery. The House bill, HB 2402 sponsored by Rep. Barry Hovis, was the most threatening. The bill passed the first committee by a 9-8 vote after a contentious hearing and lots of political maneuvering. It did not advance further and time ran out on the bill. The Senate bill received a hearing but never came up for a vote, indicating that the bill would have likely been shot down by the committee.
The takeaways from these hearings is that proponents of Right to Repair are narrowing down their arguments. We are no longer hearing outlandish claims that manuals and tools are not available for repair. Instead, their arguments are focused on software updates and access to embedded code for purposes that go beyond repair.
The reason this legislative update is coming to you now is because an editorial was published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch by Rep. Hovis and Rep. McCreery shortly after session ended. You can find that editorial here.
The association did not want that editorial to go unanswered. A rebuttal was submitted to the newspaper by our CEO, John Schmeiser. Although the paper took liberties with the title of it, the content of the message made clear our position. You can find that article here.
We have work to do in the interim to make sure legislators are equipped with accurate information about what our industry does to support customer repair. A big thank you to all the dealers who engaged with their legislators on this issue this year, particularly Craig Murray of Heritage Tractor who testified not once but twice in those contentious committee hearings and did an outstanding job representing our industry.
If you have any questions about this legislation or other issues that came up during legislative session, please contact me or your association office.