New York repair store owner Louis Rossmann has started a crowdfunding campaign, and is trying to collect $6 million to bring a "Right to Repair" initiative direct to the voters, and skip state legislature.
As states across the country debate consumers' right to repair their purchased devices, most recently including Nevada's legislature, a New York businessman is hoping to get this right into law. Louis Rossman runs the non-profit Repair Preservation Group Action Fund, and says that funding a direct ballot initiative will mean "people — not politicians — decide on whether [it] becomes law."
"I have been traveling and testifying at Right to Repair bill hearings for six years now," writes Rossmann on his GoFundMe page. "Sometimes, the politicians we speak to are uninterested in our cause. Sometimes they are, but cannot vote on the issue because other items come up in session that are seen as a higher priority."
"Sometimes they misinterpret the bill," he continues. "Sometimes, the consumer protection chair runs a car dealership. In other cases, they just laugh us out of the room."
According to Rossmann, a direct ballot initiative is why the car industry already has right to repair legislation. Under such an initiative, if a certain number of signatures are collected, states put the specified measure directly to a vote.
Rossmann says that it isn't just an issue of collecting enough signatures, however. "The reason we have not done a ballot initiative is because they are very expensive!" he writes.
Without detailing the costs, Rossmann says he spoke with the company that got a car industry direct ballot initiative passed in Massachusetts.
"They were very helpful and explained how & why it would cost $5,000,000 [to] $20,000,000 to have a chance at success," Rossmann said. "It is my hope that I can leverage the social media following I've amassed over the past 8 years, with a youtube channel of 1.56 million subscribers, to be able to accomplish what they accomplished in the lower range of that 5-20 million that was estimated."
The automotive ballot was organized by Brian Hickey Associates, which describes itself as "one of the most respected lobbying firms in the state of Massachusetts."
Rossmann says that "if I reach my goal or within earshot of it," he intends to have his Preservation Group Action Fund retain this company. "If I do not reach my goal, we will conduct traditional lobbying efforts to support Right to Repair bills in states that have introduced legislation," he continues.