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BOSTON—In a turn of events that gives big momentum to the legislation, a majority of both the House and the Senate are now on record in favor of the Updated Bottle Bill, a proposal to add a 5-cent deposit to water bottles, sports drinks, iced teas and similar beverages. Proponents gathered on the steps of the State House this morning to call for its immediate passage.
Of the 196 state senators and representatives on Beacon Hill (four seats are currently vacant), 105 have now officially endorsed the Updated Bottle Bill, H890/S1650 pending in the Legislature. The bill has garnered tremendous support in all corners of the State. Two hundred and eight cities and towns have endorsed the bill, 77% of the public in a statewide poll conducted last year by MassINC Polling Group responded in support, and Governor Patrick has long been a champion. As of yesterday, 105 senators and representatives have endorsed it. Only five legislators are on record opposing the bill, and the remaining 86 have not responded to requests for their position.
“In my 16 years in the state Legislature, I’ve rarely worked on an issue with so much support. There is simply no question that this bill is long overdue for a vote, and I’m sure once it gets to the floor it will pass overwhelmingly,” remarked state Rep. Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge), the House sponsor of the bill. The Senate sponsor, Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), added, “The time has come for the Legislature to apply this popular 30-year old law to our 21st-century consumer preferences for non-carbonated water and other ‘on the go’ beverages. I know the majority of Senators feel the same way I do.”
“The legislature has just completed yet another exhaustive analysis of the Bottle Bill; they know that this bill would be a win-win for the commonwealth,” said James McCaffrey of the Mass Sierra Club. “The only ones who want this bill delayed now are the liquor lobby, Coca-Cola, and other big special interests and they’ll do everything they can to keep this bill bottled up.”
The organizations supporting this bill, including the Mass Sierra Club, MASSPIRG, League of Women Voters/MA, Mass Municipal Association, Mass Audubon, Environmental League of MA, South Shore Recycling Cooperative, and over 75 other state and local groups, are counting on this announcement of majority support to finally push the bill onto the floor for a vote before the end of the session. “To defer voting on this bill any longer is to make a mockery of the voters,” stated Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG. “This bill was filed 14 years ago. Its opponents are the big special interest lobbyists, and the vast majority of the public knows its will is being ignored as long as this bill is buried.”
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