Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Associate Director Les Knapp testified in opposition to Senate Bill 156 before the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 9. The bill would require apartment buildings or condominiums with 10 or more units to provide recycling to its residents by 2014. County governments must incorporate the collection and recycling of the materials into their recycling plans. County governments would also likely be the primary party responsible for enforcing the bill’s provisions.
Mr. Knapp stated that counties support recycling and have supported prior legislation that addressed recycling challenges in a collaborative fashion, such as the electronics recycling legislation of 2007 (House Bill 488). He also noted that Maryland’s recycling rate of 43.9% is far about the national average of 24.3%. However, Mr. Knapp explained that MACo has consistently opposed bills that would impose an unfunded mandate on counties, especially in the current economic climate, where State aid to county and municipal governments has been reduced by 63% since FY 2007, putting counties back to approximately 1984 funding levels.
He argued the enforcement mandate would cause some counties to hire additional personnel for inspection and enforcement activities and the bill’s $50 per day fine would cover the additional costs.
The League of Women Voters testified in support of the bill and the Maryland Department of the Environment supported the bill with amendments.