The independent automotive aftermarket got one step closer to better access to vehicle repair information with the commitment of the 100th U.S. congressman to sponsor the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.became the 100th member of Congress to sign on as a sponsor the move this week. “This is an important and exciting milestone in the battle to enact this legislation so critical to the future competitiveness of the independent aftermarket,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. “We must guarantee that independents have full access to the information and tools necessary to compete with the new car dealers.” The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act prevents vehicle manufacturers and others from unfairly restricting access to the information and tools necessary to accurately diagnose, repair, re-program or install automotive replacement parts. The act would require that the Federal Trade Commission promulgate and enforce regulations that ensure competition in the vehicle repair business. “While 100 sponsors is encouraging, we need to keep up the pressure at both the national and grassroots level to obtain more congressional sponsors,” said Schmatz. “We have worked non-stop with the coalition of supporters since introducing the initial legislation in August 2001.” Some 15 national organizations support the Right to Repair Act. Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., introduced H.R. 2735 in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 17, 2003. The bill was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and currently has 100 cosponsors. A Senate companion bill (S. 2138) was introduced on Feb. 26, 2004 by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for consideration.