I just learned that a House committee stripped the expanded Bottle Bill from the Jobs Bill. This is after the Senate approved it and at least according to MASSPIRG ” 77% of the public, 208 cities and towns, Governor Patrick, and a majority of legislators” support an expanded Bottle Bill. I just called Robert DeLeo, Speaker, Massachusetts House of Representatives office at 617-722-2500 and politely told the person who answered the phone that if democracy exists in the Massachusetts House of Representatives that the Speaker should find a way to let the members of the House to vote up or down on the expansion of the Bottle Bill. The need to cover bottle water and several categories of beverage not now covered is long over due. It is not a new tax as bottlers and companies such as Pepsi & Coca Cola claim. It will reduce a business expense that big business currently pass onto consumers and taxpayers. Today is the last day of this legislative session. It’s now or never, at least for another year . . .
Will, is there any last moment thing that you can do? This is now clearly just as much an issue of democracy as it is an environmental issue.
“Legislative Committee Kills Updated Bottle Bill
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
“Despite unprecedented and overwhelming public support, on July 30, a legislative committee killed the updated bottle bill by removing it from a pending jobs bill.
“Sadly it’s becoming clearer that big business is dictating how Beacon Hill votes,” said James McCaffrey of the Sierra Club. “The bottlers and other big beverage interests trumped the people, the environment and the facts on this one.”
“Although the Senate included the bottle bill update in its version of the jobs bill, the House did not. Last evening, the Joint Conference Committee, which reconciled the differences between the House and Senate Jobs bill, filed its conference report, which struck the amendment. The Updated Bottle Bill would have added water, juice, sports drinks and similar beverage containers to the current deposit law, which stands as the most effective recycling measure in the state.
“With the support of 77% of the public, 208 cities and towns, Governor Patrick, and a majority of legislators, the measure should have been swiftly adopted. “Instead of Massachusetts taking home the gold medal, by disqualifying the public’s opinion, the legislature gives us more litter, more waste, and less recycling.” said Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG.”
Nothing left to do on this issue in the 2012 legislative session. But we should have a conversation about next year. I do want to convene a conversation about this is in the fall. Click here for previous developments on the bottle bill.
I’m sad that the bottle bill didn’t pass despite public support. What caused it to fail? Big money?
Some big money, possibly, but also ambivalence over asking consumers to either pay more or lug bottles back to the store. This is probably something that needs to get resolved at the ballot box.
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