For the first time in the 16 years it has been pending in the Legislature, the Updated Bottle Bill got a favorable report today from the Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy (TUE) Committee. Today was the extended deadline the committee had set for taking action on the bill, and Senate Chairman Mike Morrissey, along with House Chairman Barry Finegold, put the bill out with a favorable report within the first few minutes of the Committee meeting today.
“The Committee’s favorable report puts huge wind behind the sails of this important bill, which is guaranteed to increase recycling, reduce litter, and save cities and towns disposal costs. We look forward to getting it all the way through the process and enacted into law this session,” said Janet S. Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG.
One tipping point for the previously stalled bill may have been a press event held last week in the State House; drawing 160 supporters on a 90’, humid weekday morning. The League of Women Voters, the Mass Municipal Association, the Environmental League of MA, and Mass Recycle were among the 25 organizations who showed up to urge quick passage of the bill.
“It’s been clear all along that the majority of the public supports this bill because it is good for the environment, it’s good for conserving natural resources, and it makes plain common sense to update the containers covered by the original Bottle Bill,” said James McCaffrey, Director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club, a key member of the coalition.
Rep. Alice Wolf (Cambridge) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (Newton) have been the chief advocates for the bill in the House and the Senate. There are approximately two weeks left in the session, and the proponents of the bill are optimistic that it can go through the rest of the process by session’s end.