• Tires & Rubber Beat

State Legislative Report

As of June 1, only 17 states were still in their regular sessions; by the end of the month, that number will be down to 10.

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 Tire Legislation Report as of June 9, 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.

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) bills targeting tires that arose in Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts are currently on hold. Connecticut HB 6352, which formerly sought to establish a tire stewardship program, was amended to completely remove such language; the current version would have the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection submit a report to the legislature in February 2018 on beneficial end uses for tires and establish a tire hauler license by regulation before July 1, 2018.

Despite the ongoing federal, state, and international studies that thus far indicate no significant risk to athletes who play on synthetic turf surfaces, state and local legislators continue to react to assertions in the media that playing on synthetic turf fields with recycled rubber infill is connected to long-term health risks. As of June 9, there were:

  • 13 bills in 8 states directly targeting crumb rubber and synthetic turf;
  • 5 in Maryland that authorize debt to install synthetic turf fields,
  • 3 EPR bills in Connecticut, 1 in Vermont, and 2 in Massachusetts that could impact how tires can be recycled and crumb rubber utilized; and
  • 1 bill in New Mexico that would study the recycling and reuse of tires.

Currently only two synthetic turf bills show movement; California AB 509 and Massachusetts HB 3627. The Massachusetts bill seeks to ban the use of bonds to fund athletic fields or playgrounds constructed with crumb rubber. The California bill's impact is more subtle; along with numerous changes to the state's tire recycling program, it would repeal the current Rubberized Pavement Market Development Act's incentives and replace them with incentives that specifically ban their use for synthetic turf infill, loose rubber nugget or mulch playgrounds, tire-derived fuel, or most landfill cover uses. The bill just passed the Assembly and is awaiting action by the Senate.

Illinois passed Senate Resolution 118, urging the state to create a "watchlist" of fields and playgrounds containing crumb rubber and publish it on the Illinois EPA website until federal testing concludes that crumb rubber "is definitively safe for use as infill" and urging such fields and playgrounds to provide notice to parents of the federal study and the "possible chemical exposure to their children;" however, resolutions do not carry statutory weight. Minnesota legislators slipped a 3-year moratorium into an omnibus health & human services bill just before it passed the Senate, but it was later stripped out; the bill currently awaits concurrence between the House and Senate versions. Maryland HB 1353 threatened a different approach, exposing state and local government to unlimited tort liability in claims involving artificial turf, but following testimony by Tire Division Chair Mark Rannie the House Judiciary Committee ruled against passage.

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