• Plastics Beat

State Legislative Report

As spring moves towards summer most state legislatures are rushing to finish business before their scheduled adjournment dates.

As of June 1, only 18 states are still in their regular sessions. However, this doesn't mean the bills considered this year are dead; most states will automatically carry legislation over to 2018 as well as any special sessions called between now and then. We've prepared a State Plastics Legislation Report as of May 30, but you can always keep up with the latest changes with ISRI's State Legislative Tracking System. Contact Danielle Waterfield or Justin Short if you have any questions about the bills or the system. ISRI has also added issue-specific bill snapshots on the State Policy Resources page along with updates to other resources.

Following the approval of California's bag ban by referendum and the continued push for such bans at the local level, states are beginning to split dramatically in their handling of these bans and fees. While Maine LD 57, vetoed by the Governor on May 16, encouraged  local governments to pass their own requirements (in contrast to the original text which would have banned plastic bags), bills passed in Iowa, Kentucky, and New York this session and currently being considered in Minnesota and other states instead prohibit local bans on bags and other containers. This debate between bans and fees versus auxiliary container protections is unlikely to be settled this session, but to date California's statewide ban remains unique.

States are also working to distinguish "biodegradable" bags due to the problems they can cause when incorrectly added to the recycling stream. Maryland just passed HB 1349, requiring ASTM standards be met for biodegradable plastics and that such products be labeled.

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