Mike Rogge

Looking forward to next year?

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Sept. 18, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

With legislators now home in their districts, it is time to reflect on a few of the environmental bills we expect to see back again next year, because, as we all know, bad bills never die.

We already know that Assembly Member Reginald Jones- Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) intends to resurrect his AB 708, Consumer Product Content. He announced a new staffer to  handle the bill and made a minor amendment to it just before the end of session. This was the bill that would do away with ingredient trade secrets.

You can also count on the extended producer responsibility bills coming back requiring CalRecycle-directed programs funded by industry to recover and recycle products at the end of their useful life. We anticipate seeing bills again directed at batteries, pharmaceuticals and the latest “product du jour.”

The Bay Area, most specifically Berkeley and San Francisco, continues to be in the forefront attacking sugar-sweetened beverages by levying additional taxes and requiring product warnings about the dire health consequences of using these products.

Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) flame retardant labeling bill, SB 763, went down in flames this year. The bill attempted to require that manufacturers of juvenile products label their products if they Do or Do Not contain flame retardants, as if all retardants are bad and toxic. There are over 50 different flame retardants and CalEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment only lists one for Proposition 65 labeling as a carcinogen or reproductive toxin.

While there were a multitude of Department of Toxic Substances Control reform bills this year, it appears that the flurry is over for the time being. We are only anticipating SB 654 by Senator De León (D-Los Angeles) to return. The bill was amended with 24 new pages in the waning hours of session after the Administration became involved. Many of these changes will need additional work to clarify how the modified department will function and handle hazardous waste permits in the future.

This past year, AB 1063, Solid Waste Charges, by Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) made its way through the Assembly and into the Senate before the magnitude of the contemplated cost increases became clear. The bill sought to not only increase tipping fees by almost 300 percent, but also would have implemented a generator tax. CalRecycle is almost entirely dependent on tipping fees for its operations, getting virtually nothing from the General Fund. With California’s success reducing the amount of material going to landfill, per our current goal of diverting 75 percent from landfill via recycling, CalRecycle’s funding source is drying up. This bill sought to put a fee on the manufacturers and retailers of products whether their products were being highly recycled or not.

These are just a few of the environmental legislative challenges that CMTA anticipates in 2016.

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