The Maryland General Assembly is back in session for 2021 and the MRN Legislative Action Committee​, led by Chaz Miller, has already jumped into action. Rounding out the committee are Michele Blair, Phil Bresee, Melissa Filiaggi, Lisa Kardell, Richard Keller, Maria Myers, Charlie Reighart, and Chris Skaggs. The Committee will be following a number of relevant bills dealing with everything from single-use plastics and paint stewardship to EPR, organics recycling/waste diversion, and recycling market development. You can view all the bills here.

In the meantime, here’s what the committee’s been up to …

Testimony: A major part of our advocacy is providing subject matter expertise and testimony in support of or opposition to the most relevant bills. On January 15, Chaz Miller and Richard Keller provided testimony during a House Environment and Transportation Committee session in support of HB0164 Department of the Environment – Office of Recycling – Recycling Market Development, requiring the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Office of Recycling “to promote the development of markets for recycled materials and products in the State.” Keller, along with Charlie Reighart, also testified during the January 21th Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee hearing regarding the Senate version – SB0116. MRN board members played a key role in drafting the original legislation which passed both houses in 2020 but stalled due to the pandemic. Read more about the testimony here.

Update (2/12): On 2/11, HB 164 passed the House by 133-2; on 2/3, SB 116 passed the Senate by 46-0.

Events: In response to the HB0036 Environment – Packaging, Containers, and Paper Products – Producer Responsibility, we’re hosting a free virtual discussion, EPR in Maryland: How Could It Work?, on Monday, February 8 at 12 noon. We’ll explore the ins and outs of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and take a look at new legislation designed to implement EPR for packaging and paper in Maryland. We’ll hear from the bill’s sponsor Brooke Lierman, Maryland State Delegate, District 46 as well as a panel of industry professionals who will address questions on the anticipated impact of EPR on Maryland’s local government and recycling industry. Get more details and register here.

The Legislative Committee will be sharing information on the bills MRN supports and opposes in the coming weeks. You can also visit the Legislative & Regulatory page for continuing updates.