Back-room, closed-door maneuvers postpone action on Updated Bottle Bill

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Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill

Despite a legislative committee’s vote to bury a proposal to update the state’s Bottle Bill, proponents pledged to continue their push for the bill’s passage before the end of the legislative session.

 “The idea of sending it to a ‘study’ is an insult to the public of Massachusetts,” said Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG. “The bill has been studied, restudied, and studied once again. Seventy-seven percent of the public supports it, a majority of legislators (105) are on record endorsing it, and 208 cities and towns have passed resolutions in favor of it. Burying this bill today shows how profoundly out of touch a few legislators on this one committee are with their constituents. There is no alternative, better way, nor substitute for the enormously successful deposit system.”

Efforts to update the state’s 5-cent container deposit law have been pending in the State Legislature 14 years. The liquor lobby and powerful special interests have staunchly opposed the bill, citing decreased profits.

“The Massachusetts Legislature has been thwarting the will of the people since 1998,” stated James McCaffrey, Director of the Sierra Club. “We applaud those legislators who voted and spoke against burying the Bottle Bill, but the only explanation for what happened on Beacon Hill today is that the corporate special interests are in control. This committee is ignoring the Governor, our cities and towns, the public, and a bipartisan majority in both houses who want to actually vote on updating the Bottle Bill.”

Proponents reiterated that they simply want a full vote by the House and the Senate. For over a decade, a few legislators in leadership positions have delayed, deferred, and buried this bill in back-room, closed-door maneuvers.

Proponents point to majority support in both the Massachusetts House and Senate, and vow to bring it to the floor for a vote. “A bill with 77% public support should not be bottled up in committee,” added Pam Julian, Legislative Director of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts.

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 How did each member of the committee vote?

Against the Bottle Bill
Rep. John Keenan (D-Salem)
Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell)
Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield)
Rep. Stephen DiNatale (D-Fitchburg)
Rep. Paul Adams (R-Andover)
Rep. Carlo Basile (D-East Boston)
Rep. Tom Golden (D-Lowell),
Rep. John Mahoney (D-Worcester)
Rep. Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich)

For the Bottle Bill
Sen. Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield)
Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton)
Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton)
Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow)
Rep. Tackey Chan (D-Quincy)
Rep. John Rogers (D-Norwood)
Rep. Walter Timilty (D-Milton)

staff | TPIN

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