New York's right-to-repair law, approved by the state's House and Senate, landed on Governor Kathy Hochul's desk weeks ago. She's not signing it, reports Ars Technica, to please tech lobbyists hired by firms such as Apple and Microsoft—and time is running out for her to do so. Her "pocket veto" of the law, which already exempts game consoles, garden equipment and other appliances, would effectively kill it stone dead: it would have to be redrafted from scratch no sooner than next year.
The final version of the bill received rare bipartisan support, passing the state assembly 147–2 and the senate 59–4. The bill was delivered to the governor Friday, according to the New York Senate's bill tracker, though she has been considering it since late June.
As written, the Digital Fair Repair Act would require the makers of "digital electronic parts and equipment" to make diagnostic and repair instructions, and parts, available to consumers and non-affiliated repair workers, so long as those makers already provide them to their own technicians or authorized repair networks.
The Digital Fair Repair Act, and similar bills introduced in 41 other states this year, aims to expand repair options for devices. Advocates say that lack of documentation and spare parts access, plus software restrictions that thwart repairs outside companies' networks, limit consumer choice, raise ownership costs, and add to a growing e-waste stream.
The consumer electronics industry is reportedly spending billions on this lobbying effort, which has already restricted New York's right-to-repair act to cellphones and other pocket gadgets.
Right-to-repair is a clear example of something everyone wants—a right so presumptive and universally approved that it passes with overwhelming bipartisan support in an age of savage division and partisanship. But it's not happening, because the constituency that matters to Hochul has nothing to do with what everyone wants.