Fargo tech expert weighs in on possibility of 'Right to Repair' laws
FARGO — Whether it's your phone or a big tractor, you're usually required to send it to places like Apple or John Deere to fix them if they ever break.
North Dakota state representative Marvin Nelson tried to spark a change to that last year, by drafting a statewide right-to-repair bill.
"If I have a dishwasher that breaks down, (and) if I can't call my local guy, I might as well just go down and buy a new dishwasher," Nelson said when he addressed the North Dakota House of Representatives in February of 2019.
Kris Klocke, who owns All Teck Solutions in south Fargo, has been fixing things at his shop for the past nine years, and he believes having a right-to-repair law would be more convenient for both him and his customers.
"You get a much quicker turnaround (with local repair), say with like an Apple iPhone, you could have up to a two-week wait to receive your device back (if you send it to Apple)," he said.
Despite Nelson's 2019 argument, North Dakota representatives voted 82-10 to not pass the bill.
"It's unfortunate (they didn't pass it)," Klocke said. "There's a lot of third-party shops that do great work, and I just wish it was supported more."
Over the past year, 13 states, including Minnesota, have offered up the same kind of bill.
A nationwide bill to fix medical equipment without sending it to the manufacturer has been in the works since August, but the bill is still being looked at by the United States House of Representatives.
In Klocke's case, he hopes a law comes along soon, so he can continue his work, with legislation to support it.
"I'd hate to see a lot of third-party shops lose their businesses," he said. "Having to replace (a broken item) is a bad move to me, especially for the environment."
Minnesota's right-to-repair bill was also introduced in February of 2019, but lawmakers haven't brought it up since April of this year.