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Maryland should pass ‘right to repair’ law | READER COMMENTARY

Glen Burnie resident Ed Witles, right, has been repairing and repurposing discarded or donated older computers and donating them to Anne Arundel County students with the help of Annapolis High School teacher Romey Pittman, left. Legislation pending before the Maryland General Assembly would make it easier to find spare parts for electronic equipment. (Paul Gillespie/Capital Gazette).
Glen Burnie resident Ed Witles, right, has been repairing and repurposing discarded or donated older computers and donating them to Anne Arundel County students with the help of Annapolis High School teacher Romey Pittman, left. Legislation pending before the Maryland General Assembly would make it easier to find spare parts for electronic equipment. (Paul Gillespie/Capital Gazette). (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had the experience of having to replace an old cellphone. If you’re really like me, you’ve had the far more frustrating experience of having to replace a cellphone that isn’t old at all! The Baltimore Sun’s recent editorial on Maryland’s proposed “right to repair” legislation (”Maryland consumers should have a ‘right to repair’ electronics,” Feb. 12) made me realize that I’m not the only one with this problem — thousands of Marylanders deal with planned obsolescence every year.

That’s why I was so excited to read about the new bill. What Sen. Katie Fry Hester and Del. Jessica Feldmark are proposing is a simple solution to a problem that impacts everyone I know. In short, they’re saying that electronics manufacturers should empower consumers to fix the electronics that we’ve bought and own. It’s not a new idea — Massachusetts passed a similar law for cars in 2012, and 75% of voters supported it in a referendum last year.

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Right to repair wouldn’t make my cellphone’s battery last longer. It would help me replace that broken battery for far less than the cost of a new phone. That’s worth pushing for, and I hope the state legislature does the right thing by passing this proposal.

Tim Shade, Baltimore

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The writer is a student at Johns Hopkins University.

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