MARYLAND ASSOCIATION
OF COUNTIES, INC.
BILL NO.:
House Bill 685
TITLE:
Environment – Fluorescent and Compact Fluorescent Light Recycling
County Plans
POSITION:
SUPPORT WITH AMENDMENTS
DATE:
February 24, 2010
COMMITTEE:
Environmental Matters
CONTACT:
Leslie Knapp Jr.
The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) SUPPORTS House Bill 685 WITH
AMENDMENTS. The bill requires that each county have a recycling plan for the collection and
recycling of fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights that contain mercury by October 1, 2011.
Fluorescent lights contain mercury, complicating their disposal.
MACo has consistently opposed bills that impose unfunded mandates on local government.
According to the Department of Legislative Services, County and Municipal Aid has decreased by 26.7%
from FY 2008 to FY 2011. As of FY 2010, actual dollars sent to local governments has dropped $600
million as compared to FY 2007. As a result, counties and municipalities have laid off 400 employees,
used furloughs and salary cuts, and dipped into “rainy day” funds and balances. The General Assembly
has adopted a policy of not passing a bill even if it only contains a modest fiscal cost to the State. The
same consideration should be extended to local governments.
Some counties already have fluorescent lamp recycling programs and many private vendors
accept fluorescent lights for recycling. Those counties that do not would likely face increased costs under
HB 685. MACo supported legislation in 2005 (HB 575) and 2007 (HB 488) that implemented a fee on
manufacturers of certain electronics products sold. The fee was used to implement local e-cycling
programs. Manufacturers with their own e-cycling or take-back program did not have to pay the fee.
MACo requests that a similar approach be adopted with HB 685. Light manufacturers should
either pay a modest annual fee to help cover the costs of handling what is essentially hazardous waste or
develop a take-back program. A coordinated effort, involving the State, local governments,
manufacturers, and sellers would produce the best result.
As introduced, MACo believes that HB 685 imposes an unfunded mandate on some counties by
requiring them to create recycling plans for fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs. However,
this cost would be removed if the bill were made analogous to the e-cycling program previously passed
by this Committee. Accordingly, MACo recommends the Committee issue a FAVORABLE WITH
AMENDMENTS report on HB 685.
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