By Representative Tiffany Roberts and Representative Amanda Collamore

Last November, the voters of Maine cast a resounding vote of 84% to support the right to automotive repair. Like most ballot initiatives, there was legislation attached to that question that subsequently became law. As the bipartisan House Chair and Lead of the Committee on Innovation, Development, Economics, and Business, this law is under our committee’s jurisdiction. As we dove into the language of the new law and what it required, mandated, and risked, it became clear that we needed to revisit this issue while also honoring the vote of the people.

The Proponents Deliberately Avoided Legislative Review.

The Maine Right to Repair Committee drafted its ballot language with the help of a national auto parts special interest group and then went directly to the ballot to intentionally avoid the tough questions that would come with a legislative review.  Not benefiting from critical scrutiny, the language put forward was poorly drafted and did not consider alternate points of view.  This manipulation of the system was done knowing full well that voters would support the idea of “Right to Repair” without being in a position to evaluate the rest of the ballot text.

Mainers did not fund the “Maine” Right to Repair Committee.

Despite the façade of being a locally grown ballot initiative designed to help independent repairers, this ballot question did not enjoy the financial support of Maine voters.  Maine Ethics Committee financial filings show that 99.9997% of the Committee’s funding came from out of state, with just $1,290 of $4,921,290 coming from in-state.  The Committee was also fined by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics for flouting the state’s 24-hour disclosure notice on major donations, specifically intended to ensure Maine voters know who is funding ballot questions.

NHTSA Says Open Access to Data Conflicts with Federal Cyber Guidelines.

In a letter sent to all automakers in June 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that the Massachusetts telematics data access law – on which the Maine ballot question is based and which was also passed without legislative involvement – conflicted with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (49 C.F.R. Chapter 301), and “… poses significant safety concerns.”  More specifically, they worried, “A malicious actor here or abroad could utilize such open access to remotely command vehicles to operate dangerously, including attacking multiple vehicles concurrently.”

Automakers Support Consumers’ Right to Repair.

Automakers already provide all the information necessary to diagnose and repair a vehicle, which can be accessed through numerous subscription services or directly through  They also make available replacement parts and tools and even work with 3rd party tool manufacturers to create a diverse array of aftermarket options for owners and shops alike.  This partnership with repairers was validated this past summer when the trade association representing nearly all automakers selling vehicles in the U.S. announced a major agreement on repair data access with two of the largest and most respected representatives of independent repairers – the Automotive Service Association and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists.

Maine Voters Support Right to Repair.

Unless the identified problems around telematics data access in the ballot question are addressed, automakers will have no pathway to comply with the law while still fulfilling their federal obligations on cybersecurity.  This tension has led some automakers to shut off all telematics data access on their vehicles in Massachusetts, which NHTSA has said could have “… its own adverse impacts on safety.”  Maine voters should not be penalized because the Maine Right to Repair Committee opted to advance a misguided and problematic ballot proposal.

As representatives of the people, we commit to re-evaluating this law and putting forth something enforceable that will address any current or future barriers to the right to repair and protect the privacy rights of the people of Maine.

Rep. Tiffany Roberts ( D ) – South Berwick, House Chair & Rep. Amanda Collamore ( R ) Pittsfield, House Lead

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