MACo Opposes Mandatory Local Role in Special Event Recycling

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel, Les Knapp, testified unfavorably to legislation (SB 885 and HB 1309) that would impose a challenging new enforcement on local governments to issue a special event permit that would enforce recycling requirements at the event. The bills were sponsored by Senator James Rosapepe and Delegate Barbara Frush, respectively.

According to MACo’s testimony,

SB 885 would require a county and municipal government that issues a special event permit to also enforce recycling requirements at the event. The bill also lowers the threshold for the application of special events recycling requirements from 200 people to 100 people, increases the civil penalties for violating the recycling requirements, and makes the amount of the penalty contingent on attendance. …

Mandating counties or municipalities to enforce recycling requirements for special events will impose potentially significant implementation and personnel costs on local governments, especially in jurisdictions that host numerous special events. The definition of “special event” is already broad under the current law and the bill further expands it by lowering the attendance threshold from 200 to 100 people, likely capturing a wide new swath of events much smaller in scale than previously envisioned.

While the increased civil penalties are likely intended to offset some of the enforcement costs, recovery requires initiating a court action – which costs additional time and money. …

Furthermore, this Committee recognized the burdens that mandatory enforcement would place on local governments and specifically rejected its inclusion in SB 781 of 2014, which established the special events recycling requirement.

Joining Mr. Knapp testifying in opposition to these bills was Candace Donoho from the Maryland Municipal League (MML).

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.