A bill aimed at allowing farmers and ranchers to save money on repairs for their high-tech equipment was printed Thursday and will receive a hearing in the Idaho Senate.

The Right to Repair legislation, which is sponsored by second-year Sen. David Nelson, D-Moscow, and Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, is the first bill Nelson has sponsored.

Nelson said the bill would require manufacturers to sell parts, instruction manuals, special tools and diagnostic equipment to consumers or independent repair shops who wish to purchase the items to make repairs themselves.

He said the farming industry is greatly affected by manufacturers controlling the repair market.

“Clearly, some manufacturers are not going to like this because they have a monopoly on repair and this could harm their bottom line on that,” Nelson said.

He said he hopes it helps farmers on the Palouse, but mentioned he is a little concerned the bill is late in the game since the number of independent repair shops in the area has declined. It might take time to build the industry back up again, Nelson said.

There were about 20 Right to Repair bills in other state legislatures last year but none passed, Nelson said at a Moscow Chamber of Commerce “Coffee with District 5 Legislators” event Jan. 25.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation support Right to Repair legislation, Nelson said.

He said the legislation has been on his radar and Burgoyne has been working on the bill over the last year.

Nelson said he believes the bill, which was introduced in the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee, has a “good chance” to become law.

A similar bill was introduced in the Idaho House of Representatives, so Nelson said it is possible his bill, the House’s bill, or compromised legislation will get passed.

“I think that shows that there’s demand in Idaho for this legislation,” he said.

Nelson said several bills were printed the last couple of days, so it could be weeks before the bill gets a Senate hearing.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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