State Legislative Roundup

June 30 was the final day of sessions in five states (DE, NC, NH, OR, RI), leaving only seven states in regular session.

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

Why this matters: Bills and regulations targeting metals theft, packaging, product StateLegislativeRoundup 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
Legislators in Kansas and Texas have passed several changes to their materials theft laws. ISRI's State Metals Theft Law Database and individual state summaries have been updated to reflect these and other changes passed this year:

  • KS HB 2248: Various changes to recordkeeping, reporting, and registration provisions, effective 07/01/20. Establishes 07/01/23 as a sunset date for the Act.
  • TX HB 4584: amends the phrase ’plastic bulk merchandise container” requirements by referring to them, instead, as "returnable containers" wherever the original phrase appears in the law.
  • TX HB 1545: changes references from "beer" to "malt beverage" in various laws, including the definitions for "aluminum material" and "regulated metal" in the metals theft law.
  • TX SB 616: various changes to registration, penalties, and other administrative functions for the metals theft law.
  • 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 must report a list of all scrap recyclers in a county that have not filed a daily electronic record of scrap metal purchases.

Auxiliary Containers: Following recent media focus on plastics and New York's passage of AB 2008 with a ban on all non-exempt "plastic carryout bags" and authorization of local $0.05 fees on paper bags, several states have jumped in with their own restrictions on "single-use" bags.

  • ME LD 1532: Effective 04/22/20, prohibits retailers from providing a "single-use carry-out bag" (plastic, paper, or other material, does not include "recycled paper bag" or "reusable bag") with certain exceptions. Sets a minimum 5 cent fee for a recycled paper bag. Preempts local ordinances.
  • ME LD 1831: Amends the definition of "sale price" to exclude the state tire fee as well as any amount charged for a paper or plastic single-use carryout bag.
  • VT SB 113: Prohibits stores or food service establishments from providing a single use plastic carryout bag to a customer; requires a minimum 10 cent fee for a recyclable paper carryout bag. Also bans food service establishments from providing single-use plastic straws except by request, and bans single use plastic stirrers and expanded polystyrene food service products.
  • MD HB 1166: Authorizes Howard County to impose a 5 cent fee on disposable plastic bags provided to customers at retail checkout.
  • DE HB 130 (awaiting Governor’s action) Effective 01/01/21, bans single-use plastic carryout bags; paper bags may be made available for no cost or at any price at the store's discretion. Also sets minimum design specs for reusable bags.
  • OR HB 2509: Effective 01/01/2020, bans single-use checkout bags, minimum 5 cent fee for recycled paper checkout bags or reusable fabric or plastic checkout bags. Allows more stringent local restrictions if they use the same definitions.

    However, other states continue to pass legislation prohibiting such restrictions at the local level.

  • ND HB 1200 (enacted) Prohibits local regulations, fees, charges, or taxes on auxiliary containers.
  • OK SB 1001 (enacted) Prohibits a local government from restricting, taxing, prohibiting or regulating the use, disposition or sale of auxiliary containers.

    On a slightly different note, Washington HB 1569 prohibits plastic products from being labeled "biodegradable," "degradable," "decomposable," "oxo-degradable," or similar terms (other than biodegradable mulch film), and requires products labeled as "compostable" to meet ASTM specifications and labeling requirements, including specific rules for plastic food service and plastic film products.

    Extended Producer Responsibility As with auxiliary container legislation, recent media focus on plastics has given new life to bills targeting packaging and printed materials for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) model program. While none of the bills passed directly create an EPR program for packaging, Maine, Washington, and Hawaii have all passed legislation that calls for such legislation to be proposed in future sessions, with Maine LD 1431 being the most direct.

  • ME LD 1431: Requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop legislation establishing packaging EPR.
  • ME LD 1649: Amends the product stewardship program framework laws. Revises program parameters with respect to the establishment of a product collection system, program staffing requirements for producers or stewardship organizations and program costs. Revises requirements for information to be included in a proposed product stewardship plan. Authorizes DEP to initiate changes to an approved product stewardship plan upon a determination that the program has failed to make adequate progress toward achieving program goals.
  • WA SB 5397: 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: Creates a 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.
  • HI SB 522: Creates a work group to phase out single-use plastic packaging, promote reuse, and find sustainable alternatives for packaging, and suggest legislation prior to the 2021 session.

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

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. ReMA 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.


Have Questions?