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New Year, New Sessions, New State Legislation

We may only be one month into 2017, but for state legislatures the race is already on to complete their work before the session ends.

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By mid-February, Florida and Louisiana will be the only two states that haven't started their sessions, and by the time Louisiana gets to business on April 10, 13 states will already have adjourned. More than 200 bills are already being tracked in ISRI's State Legislative Tracking System with more arriving every day. We've outlined a few trends below, but if you'd like more information on a particular bill, pointers on the system, or details on any of ISRI's other advocacy resources, please contact Danielle Waterfield or Justin Short.

Building off their success in Tennessee in 2016, the Southeast Chapter has worked with South Carolina legislators to introduce SB 181, which amends the state's hazardous waste cleanup law to clarify that a "responsible party" does not include a person excluded from liability under SREA.

More than 20 metals theft bills have already been introduced, with eight (at the time of writing) in New York alone. Of note, the Gulf Coast Chapter is working with the Texas Senate Natural Resources Committee to address issues with SB 208 dealing with unexploded ordinance. Reportedly the bill arose from a problem where areas open to the public used to be used for military testing, leading to live ordinance being sold as scrap. However, as drafted the bill's provisions could have unintended consequences for recyclers attempting to comply.

On synthetic turf…New York, Connecticut, and Virginia are the first to the legislative gate this year with proposals ranging from a six month moratorium, to requiring studies independent of those already being conducted at the state and federal level, to simply prohibiting funding of projects. But Connecticut HB 6352 could manage to steal the spotlight this year as it reintroduces Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) requirements for tires. This became a major concern in the 2015 session as Connecticut and Vermont both introduced EPR bills following a meeting where the Product Stewardship Institute encouraged state regulators to abandon the current market-based systems by claiming that EPR would eliminate illegal dumping and regulatory oversight, despite evidence from Ontario showing otherwise.

Several states are considering automated NMVTIS and lien check systems that would allow - or require - recyclers to check a vehicle's status. However, legislators in Mississippi have gone a step farther with the introduction of HB 636, requiring that processors either obtain a copy of a clear motor vehicle title or a statement from the Department of Revenue (DoR) that no lien exists or risk being held liable to the lien holder for the total amount owed on the vehicle. Mississippi SB 2230 would also remove the ability for processors to purchase late-model vehicles without a title if the owner signs a statement that the title was either lost or already returned to the DoR.

While electronics recycling bills have largely focused on making changes to existing state programs in recent years, New Hampshire's HB 547 already received a hearing in late January. The bill targets computers, monitors, printers, televisions, and devices containing CRTs under a market-based EPR system. While the problems of CRT management continue to cause headaches for all parties, right to repair legislation in Massachusetts, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York could help recyclers access the information and tools they need to better process new and changing technology as it comes into the recycling stream.

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