Right to Repair and Data Equity bills return to the legislature

Dec 21, 2023
Written by WR Communications


Two issues familiar to retailers will be reintroduced during the 2024 legislative session for another attempt at passage. Representative Mia Gregerson (D, 33rd LD) will be the prime sponsor of both the “Right to Repair” and “Digital Equity” bills.

Right to Repair Representative Gregerson pre-filed the latest iteration of the “Right to Repair” legislation – HB 1933. The bill has adopted a more expansive scope than similar bills from prior sessions.

In response to the national momentum behind the Right to Repair movement, the legislation now extends its coverage to encompass consumer products that have been granted the right to repair in other states. This includes a wide range of items, from personal electronic devices, such as phones and computers, to agricultural machinery, wheelchairs, and household appliances, such as dishwashers and refrigerators. Expanding the scope is not intended to overhaul existing systems but to ensure parity for Washington residents in terms of the protections afforded to their counterparts in states like Colorado, Minnesota, and California.

During the 2023 legislative session, the Fair Repair Act succeeded in the House of Representatives, securing a 58-38 vote, but did not pass out of the Senate.

Digital Equity-Although it has not been pre-filed yet, Representative Gregerson notified WR that she intends to bring back a version of HB 1793, which would impose a $2 device tax on every sale of a wireless-connected smart device over $250. Devices include, but are not limited to, smartphones, tablets, computers, smart speakers, gaming consoles, wearable devices, smart televisions, and smart gyms.

WR has many concerns with the legislation, including the onerous declaration requirements of the $2 device tax. Failure to properly report this tax separate from other sales taxes would be considered a gross misdemeanor.  The 2023 version of the bill had a hearing in the House Finance Committee but did not advance.

WR will be following both bills and working very closely with members of PGAC and other stakeholders.


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