State Legislative Roundup

As of May 1, 2019 fifteen states will have finished their 2019 legislative sessions; by the end of the month, another fourteen will have adjourned for the year (special sessions not included).
State Legislation April 24

The last few days of a session can be the most important, as conference committees and substitute amendments can quickly change an amendment just before passage.

Why this matters: Bills and regulations targeting metals theft, packaging, product stewardship, and other commodities and issues can directly change how your business operates. You can keep track of these and other bills targeting the industry on ISRI's State Resources and Tracking Pages.

Materials Theft

While most states have been shying away from massive rewrites of their metals theft laws in recent years, several states are considering amendments that could greatly impact purchases of ferrous and nonferrous scrap:

Passed to Date

  • SD HB 1082: $100 cash payment threshold for nonferrous metal property.
  • IN SB 471: penalties for damaging a "critical infrastructure facility"; includes changes to the penalties for theft of valuable metal.
  • AR SB 365: eliminates the requirement that the operator of the reporting database report a list of all scrap recyclers in a county that have not filed a daily electronic record of scrap metal purchases.

Pending Legislation of Concern

  • KS SB 219: transfers the reporting database (currently set for 2020) from the AG to the Kansas Bur. Of Inv., modifies recordkeeping and registration. Formerly included a weight based excise tax on purchases of over 100 lbs. of metal. Legislators will decide on final language during the first half of May.
  • MO SB 492: copper peddler licensing, Payment restrictions, reporting, and hold on copper property & HVAC; Recordkeeping and retention requirements; Required registration with ScrapTheftAlert.com; Purchase restrictions on high voltage transmission cables, historical markers, new materials and tools used by contractors, HVAC components, and catalytic converters.
  • TX HB 1530 / SB 616: for metal recycling entity registration, authorizes criminal history checks from FBI & fingerprinting.
  • LA HB 233: removes payment restrictions for secondhand dealers, but not for scrap metal recyclers
  • New York: several active bills

Auxiliary Containers

New York is now the second state to enact a statewide plastic bag ban with the passage of NY AB 2008. Part H of the budget bill includes a ban on all non-exempt "plastic carryout bags" and authorizes local governments to adopt a $0.05 fee on paper bags, effective March 1, 2020; the New York City Council has already approved the paper bag fee.

California also has a statewide ban on plastic bags, while Hawaii's County Council’s bans all plastic bags. State preemptions of local restrictions are still more common, but paper and all plastic bag restrictions have been gaining traction in conjunction with media coverage focusing on ocean plastics and disposable or single-use items.

ISRI is currently tracking 149 auxiliary container bills; most of these have not gained traction, but there are a few that could be galvanized by New York's action:

  • WA SB 5323 (passed Senate) / HB 1205: bans single use plastic carryout bags, sets $0.08 fee and minimum content (40% postconsumer) and manufacturing standards for paper and reusable plastic bags (House version has 10 cent fee).
  • MD HB 1166 (passed House and Senate): authorizes Howard County to impose a $0.05 fee on disposable plastic bags
  • VT SB 113 (passed Senate): bans food service establishments from providing plastic carryout bags, EPS, or plastic straws, and requires a working group to assess municipal implementation of single-use carryout plastic bag bans.
  • IL SB 1240: $0.07 fee on all checkout bags (paper, plastic, or compostable); Illinois budget included a 5 cent fee on plastic bags.
  • OR HB 2509: plastic bag ban, $0.10 fee on paper bags.
  • NJ has expressed interest but no definitive vehicle since NJ AB 3267 was vetoed in 2018.
  • Preemptions of local restrictions:
    • ND HB 1200 (enacted)
    • OK SB 1001 (awaiting action by Governor)

Synthetic Turf

After relative quiet in the opening weeks of 2019, bills banning or restricting synthetic turf and recycled rubber infill returned in Connecticut, New York, and Maryland. ISRI members have testified against bills in Connecticut and Maryland and are watching for movement on competing measures in New York, but compared to previous sessions, the appetite to push legislation that conflicts with the findings of existing, peer-reviewed scientific studies appears to be waning.

While 6 bills in 3 states is an improvement over previous years, these all still represent threats to the environmental and economic benefits of tire recycling. These bills are based on claims that are not supported by the available scientific findings.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

As with auxiliary container legislation, recent media focus on plastics have given new life to bills targeting packaging and printed materials for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) model program. Washington legislators showed particular interest in EPR this year, passing a study bill that will require a legislative report on the pros and cons of EPR programs. While measures in other states have not shown as much traction, recyclers need to be on the lookout for legislation that would place manufacturers in control of the flow and management of recyclable materials.

  • WA SB 5397 (passed legislature): originally introduced as a plastics packaging EPR bill, amended to a study bill requiring the Washington Department of Ecology to "evaluate and assess the amount and types of plastic packaging sold into the state as well as the management and disposal of plastic packaging" and report by October 31, 2020. Report includes an evaluation of the costs and saving in existing EPR programs and options to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging and 20% postconsumer content in packaging by 2025.
  • WA HB 1543 / SB 5545 (passed legislature): creates recycling development center to provide R&D, marketing, and policy analysis for recyclable materials. Declares an "initial focus on mixed waste paper and plastics" and working with producers on increasing recycling for packaging and other recyclables.
  • ME LD 1431: requires DEP to develop legislation establishing packaging EPR.
  • CT HB 7295: paper and packaging; tasks producers with submitting the details for such a plan by Dec 31, 2020. Leaves almost everything to producers. If plan(s) are approved by June 30, 2021, they become effective; if not, back to drawing board.
  • MA HB 745 / 750: creates a Sustainable Packaging Advisory Board to approve plans and manage funding for packaging and printed paper.
  • MA HB 810: general EPR study, includes packaging and printed materials
  • IN SB 619: perennial packaging & printed paper EPR.
  • VT HB 126: zero waste study bill, includes EPR
  • NY AB 2850: requires Dept. to set recycled content and recovery rate requirements on manufacturers for packaging.
  • HI SB 522: creates a plastic source reduction working group to formulate a plan for eliminating single-use plastic packaging from the Hawaii waste stream and establishes the position of Solid Waste Prevention Coordinator.

Bottom line: ISRI members need to be involved with their policymakers on the federal, state, and local levels to ensure the industry can continue to operate without excessive statutory and regulatory burdens.

Go deeper: If you'd like to find out what changes could impact your company, visit ISRI's State Policy page or contact Danielle Waterfield if you have any questions about the system or legislation impacting your state. ISRI has also added live legislative and regulatory reports to the State Resources and Tracking pages to make keeping up-to-date in your state easier.


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