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April 26, 2023 10:21 AM UTC

Republicans Celebrate "Right to Repair" That They Opposed

  • 6 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
The total number of House Republican votes for a new “right to repair” bill for farmers.

As Jesse Bedayn reports for The Associated Press, Colorado is now the first state in the country with a “right to repair” law that allows farmers more freedom to fix their own tractors and combines:

Sitting in front of a hulking red tractor, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill Tuesday making Colorado the first state to ensure farmers can fix their own tractors and combines with a “right to repair” law — which compels manufacturers to provide the necessary manuals, tools, parts and software.

Colorado, home to high desert ranches and sweeping farms on the low-and-level plains, took the lead on the issue following a nationwide outcry from farmers that manufacturers blocked them from making fixes and forced them to wait precious days for an official servicer to arrive — delays that imperiled profits…[Pols emphasis]

…Colorado has taken the lead, but Democratic Rep. Brianna Titone, the bill’s sponsor, and Dan Waldvogle, director of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, said it’s a potential launch pad for other states and even at the federal level where discussions about similar legislation are already underway.

The legislation advanced through long committee hearings, having been propelled forward mostly by Democrats even though a Republican lawmaker co-sponsored the bill. The proposal left some GOP lawmakers stuck between their farming constituents pleading for the ability to repair their equipment and the manufacturers who vehemently opposed it. [Pols emphasis]

Bedayn went into more detail back in February on the “right to repair” bill for farm equipment — one of many areas where product owners are asking the government to reduce regulations preventing them from fixing something they already own so that manufacturers can make more money off of repairs under the guise of protecting trade secrets. HB23-1011 was championed in Colorado by Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada), but House Republicans were more than happy to claim credit because of the co-sponsorship of Rep. Ron Weinberg (R-Larimer County):

 

 

House Republicans — and Weinberg — are pounding their chests over a bill that Republicans overwhelmingly opposed. Only two of the 19 Republicans in the State House of Representatives actually voted for HB23-1011 in its final form: Weinberg and Rep. Rod Bockenfeld (R-Watkins)

Voting against legislation and then claiming credit later is a common tactic for Colorado Republicans (it’s basically the only thing in Congressperson Lauren Boebert’s playbook). It’s nice that Weinberg had the good sense to co-sponsor this bill, but he and his caucus had nothing to do with the passage of HB23-1011. Democrats got this done.

It’s also worth noting that Colorado Republicans who otherwise spend a lot of time braying about their support for “rural Colorado” once again sided with big business interests instead of local farmers. As Bedayn reports:

“Forcing a business to disclose trade secrets, software and jeopardize consumer safety is poor public policy,” said Republican state Rep. Matt Soper, adding that it will stifle tech innovation.

Now, compare that paragraph with this one:

Behind the governor and arrayed farmers and lawmakers sat a red Steiger 370 tractor owned by a farmer named Danny Wood. Wood’s tractor has flown an American flag reading “Farmers First,” and it been one of two of his machines to break down, requiring long waits before servicers arrived to enter a few lines of computer code or make a fix Wood could have made himself.

Remember this the next time you hear a Republican whining that Democrats are fighting some mythical “war on rural Colorado.”

Comments

6 thoughts on “Republicans Celebrate “Right to Repair” That They Opposed

  1. Anyone who thinks that Colorado ag will determine the course of innovation efforts in the broad field of agriculture really ought to have to explain themselves.  How and why would that work?

  2. My experience is you had no choice. You are in the middle of drilling seeds or whatever in a time sensitive situation, and your tractor breaks down you have to pay the local John Deere office about $ 110 an hour for a mechanic to come out onsite, because you don't have the codes to repair the damn thing on your own.

    Removing this burden is a very common-sense thing. Rural Colorado should take note, what have the Republicans other than Reps. Weinberg and Brockenfeld, done for you on this issue. Not a damn thing.

     

    1. Absolutely agree.  Note we are at $166/Hr for your JD/CAT dealer to show up with the scanner so you can ID any issue here near San Luis Valley.  

  3. So, the party that complains about "burdensome regulations" and says we need to do away with all of them, mostly balks at supporting a bill that does away with a truly burdensome regulation.  

    Go figure.

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