Minnesota News

Can you fix it? Yes, you can. Minnesota’s Right to Repair bill is now in effect.

a person repairs a laptop
A worker at Minnesota Tech for Success repairs a laptop. Minnesota's new Right to Repair law went into effect July 1. It requires manufacturers to provide replacement parts, tools and instructions so consumer electronics can be repaired to reduce waste and costs.
Dymanh Chhoun | Sahan Journal

By Andrew Hazzard | Sahan Journal

This story comes to you from Sahan Journal through a partnership with MPR News.

Minnesotans now have more options to fix damaged consumer electronics, appliances and more thanks to a Right to Repair law that took effect Monday. 

Right to Repair is a nationwide campaign to require manufacturers to disperse replacement parts, tools and repair information. Fix-it advocates say Minnesota’s law is one of the strongest in the country, and has the potential to decrease electronic waste, save people money and spur the local repair industry. 

“We’re going to be able to get the parts we need, the manuals we need,” said Tamara Gillard, executive director of Minnesota Tech for Success, a nonprofit that repairs and distributes electronics to school districts, local governments and nonprofits.

Minnesota’s law, the Digital Fair Repair Act, requires all manufacturers that sell electronics in the state to make spare parts, specialized tools and manuals available to residents and repair businesses upon request. The law covers a range of consumer electronics and home appliances, but has exceptions for farm equipment, medical devices, automobiles and video game consoles. 

The law retroactively covers devices sold after July 2021, and requires manufacturers to make repair materials available in a fair and reasonable way. 

The modern Right to Repair campaign began in the early 2010s, inspired by consumer electronic companies like Apple, which has several software locks and hardware oddities that make fixing devices such as iPhones difficult without the company’s internal manuals. 

Chris Olson, the repair manager at St. Paul electronics recycler Repowered, said he and his staff frequently have to dismiss repair jobs because of missing information from manufacturers. As electronic devices get smaller, their components become harder to break down and replace without specialized tools or manuals to explain how they function, Olson said. 

“It’s very hard,” he said. 

At Minnesota Tech for Success, common repairs include keyboard and hard drive replacements, according to production manager Dan Carter. Those repairs can expand the life of a device and make it a useful tool for people and organizations in need, he said, but fixing the devices is complicated and people don’t know where to bring them.

a man repairs laptops
Dan Carter with Minnesota Tech for Success works on laptops at the nonprofit's facility in Minneapolis. Minnesota's new Right to Repair law went into effect July 1. It requires manufacturers to provide replacement parts, tools and instructions so consumer electronics can be repaired to reduce waste and costs.
Dymanh Chhoun | Sahan Journal

“A lot of people just don’t know what they’re doing on their own,” Carter said. 

Carter, a Navy veteran, said he was thrilled to recently give repaired laptops to two veterans who needed the computers to apply for jobs. 

Minnesota Tech for Success mostly works with devices that run on Windows software, which are generally easier to repair and modify. But the Right to Repair law will likely expand the brands they can handle, Gillard said.  

By making it harder to fix items, companies encourage people to buy new replacements when products become less effective. That leads to more costs for consumers, and more electronic waste. Keeping electronic waste out of landfills helps Minnesota’s groundwater, said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Katrina Kessler. 

Electronic waste is a growing problem in Minnesota, and can lead to harmful environmental impacts and dangerous conditions for workers in recycling, where old batteries often spark fires. A bill to update and improve Minnesota’s electronic waste collection system failed to pass this session, but advocates believe the Right to Repair law can help address the issue. 


Minnesota’s bill was watered down through the legislative process, and does not include farm equipment, a longtime goal of Right to Repair advocates. Still, Public Interest Research Groups, a consumer advocacy coalition, calls it the strongest law in the country.

State Representative Kristi Pursell, DFL-Northfield, and Senator Rob Kupec, DFL-Moorhead, said they are committed to adding agricultural equipment in the coming years. 

“In 2025, we can close this loophole,” Pursell said. 

Minnesota joins Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Maine and New York as states to enact Right to Repair legislation. Lawmakers have introduced Right to Repair bills in 30 states, according to Public Interest Research Groups. 

California’s law also went into effect Monday. Emily Barker, executive director of Reuse Minnesota, said the goal of the national Right to Repair campaign is to keep adding state laws that overlap and complement each other. 

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said the law will require residents and repair shop owners to report companies that are out of compliance. His office wants to know if companies aren’t making parts and materials available. The law calls for a $25,000 fine per violation, and can increase that amount depending on the offender’s ability to pay, which could be considerable. 

“Now, it’s important for the enforcement side to do its job,” Ellison said. 

Kupec said he met with a lobbyist from Apple, which historically requires people to have their devices fixed at Apple stores due to speciality equipment and guarded knowledge. The Apple representative told Kupec that the law wasn’t needed because the company has several stores in Minnesota. But, Kupec noted, for residents outside the Twin Cities, that’s often hours away.