Government Relations

SEBWA Government Relations Committee / Legislative Activities Report

The SEBWA Government Relations Committee reviews and reports on State and Federal Legislative and Regulatory activities impacting the Southeastern Bottled Water Association region.

For more information, contact SEBWA at southeasternbottledwaterassn@gmail.com

Government Relations Update (October 2013)

(ALABAMA)

H.B. 468 – LABELING (FOOD PACKAGING)
Sponsored by Representative Alan Boothe (R)

Establishes that no person shall distribute, sell or offer for sale any rigid plastic container, including a plastic beverage container, labeled “degradable,” “biodegradable,” “compostable” or any other word suggesting the container will biodegrade, unless it meets the following requirements:

(1) The container complies with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims; and

(2) The container includes the label “Not Recyclable, Do Not Recycle” in print of the same color, contrast, font and size.

Introduced, referred to House Committee on Commerce and Small Business 3/20/2013. Hearing held; reported favorably 4/10/2013. Passed House 4/25/2013. Transmitted to Senate, referred to the Senate committee on Business and Labor 5/2/2013. Reported favorably 5/2/2013. Failed upon adjournment 5/20/2013.

S.B. 208 – GROUNDWATER, WATER CONSERVATION
Sponsored by Senator Billy Beasley (D)

Current version(4/11/2013) establishes and codifies the Alabama Drought Assessment and Planning Team. Establishes that the Drought Assessment and Planning Team must develop a state drought plan and issue drought alerts. Allows for the Office of Water Resources to promulgate rules. Allows the Governor to exercise water restrictions, reductions and withdrawals via executive order.

Introduced, referred to Energy and Natural Resources Committee 2/14/2013. Amended and passed committee 3/5/2013. Passed Senate 4/11/2013. Transmitted to House, referred to Committee on Commerce and Small Business 4/16/2013. Hearing held, reported favorably 4/23/2013. Failed upon adjournment 5/20/2013.

S.B. 298 – LABELING (FOOD PACKAGING)
Sponsored by Senator Jimmy Holley (R)

Establishes that no person shall distribute, sell, or offer for sale any rigid plastic container, including a plastic beverage container, labeled “degradable,” “biodegradable,” “compostable,” or any other word suggesting the container will biodegradable, unless it meets the following requirements:
(1) The container complies with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims
(2) The container includes the label “Not Recyclable, Do Not Recycle” in print of the same color, contrast, font, and size

Introduced, referred to Governmental Affairs Committee 3/5/2013 Hearing held 3/19/2013. Passed committee 4/4/2013. Failed to meet crossover deadline 4/30/2013. Failed upon adjournment 5/20/2013.

Companion Bill: 2013 H.B. 468

(FLORIDA)

Senate Agriculture Interim Committee – GROUNDWATER

The Senate Agriculture Interim Committee held a public meeting September 23 to discuss overall water policies and procedures of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Public comment will be allowed during the hearing. Rich Budell, Director of Water policy, presented on the FDACS’s role in water resource protection, conservation and planning. Janet Hewellyn of the DEP also presented on Water Policy and Ecosystem preservation. No legislation was discussed during the meeting.

H.B. 1 – LABELING (FOOD PACKAGING)
Sponsored by Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D)

Requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, beginning January 1, 2016, to annually publish an updated list of additional raw agricultural commodities that are commonly cultivated commercially in genetically engineered form. Requires the list to be based on the most current available information.

Requires, beginning January 1, 2016, a genetically engineered raw agricultural commodity, that is offered for retail sale, to include a clear and conspicuous statement with the words “genetically engineered” on the front of the package or label of the commodity. Provides, for an item that is not separately packaged or labeled, the statement must appear on a label on the retail store shelf or bin where the commodity is displayed for sale.

Requires, beginning January 1, 2016, a package offered or retail sale containing processed food that is made with, or derived from, a genetically engineered ingredient to include a clear and conspicuous statement on the front or back of the package with words “contains genetically engineered ingredients,” followed by the name of the genetically engineered ingredient(s). States, if an ingredients list appears on the package, the statement must appear underneath the ingredients list. States, for processed food containing one or more genetically engineered ingredient(s), the genetically engineered ingredient(s) listed after the statement must be listed in the same order in which they appear in the full ingredients list. Requires a package containing processed food that is made with or derived from an ingredient that may be genetically engineered must include a clear and conspicuous statement on the front or back of the package with words “may contain genetically engineered ingredients,” followed by the name of the genetically engineered ingredient(s). States, if an ingredients list appears on the package, the statement must appear underneath the ingredients list. States, for processed food containing one or more ingredient that may be genetically engineered, the genetically engineered ingredient(s) listed after the statement must be listed in the same order in which they appear in the full ingredients list.

Exempts (1) a raw agricultural commodity that, on the date it is offered for retail sale, is not on the list created by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; (2) a processed food that does not contain an ingredient derived from a raw agricultural commodity that, on the date the processed food is manufactured, is listed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; (3) food consisting entirely of, or derived entirely from, an animal that has not itself been genetically engineered, regardless of whether the animal has been fed or injected with a genetically engineered food or drug that has been produced through means of genetic engineering; (4) a raw agricultural commodity or ingredient that has been grown, raised or produced without the knowing and intentional use of genetically engineered seed or food; (5) a processed food that is subject to this provision solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered processing aids or enzymes; (7) until January 1, 2016 a processed food that would be subject to this section solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered ingredients, if: (a) single genetically engineered ingredient accounts for more than one-half of one percent of the total weight of the processed food; or (b) the processed food does not contain more than 10 genetically engineered ingredients; (8) as determined by an independent organization, a food not knowingly and intentionally produced from or commingled with genetically engineered seed or genetically engineered food; (9) food that has been lawfully certified, by the federal government, to be labeled, marketed and offered for sale as organic; and (10) food that is not packaged for retail sale and that is a processed food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption or served, sold or provided in a restaurant or other food facility that is primarily engaged in the sale of food prepared and intended for immediate human consumption. Provides a penalty for violation.

Defines, for the purpose of labeling, “genetically engineered” as food that consists of, is composed of, contains or is produced from an organism or organisms in which the genetic material has been changed through the application of in vitro nucleic acid techniques. Defines, for the purpose of labeling, “food facility” as an operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food for human consumption at the retail level, including an operation where food is consumed on or off the premises, regardless of whether there is a charge for the food.

Prefiled 8/16/2013.

This measure has been prefiled for the 2014 legislative session, which is scheduled to convene March 4, 2014. The sponsor is a member of the minority party and has failed to gain the support of any cosponsors. The measure has not yet been referred to a committee for consideration. Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the office of the Governor.

The measure is a re-file of Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s 2013 H.B. 1233, which was referred to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee but was never heard or acted upon.

H.B. 773 – BPA
Sponsored by Representative Mark Danish (D)

Declares it is the policy of the state, consistent with its duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to reduce the exposure of pregnant women, children and other vulnerable populations to chemicals of high concern by publicly identifying such chemicals and encouraging substitutions with safer alternatives whenever possible.

Requires, by January 14, 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Department of Health, to generate a list of chemicals of high concern that contains no fewer than fifty chemicals and no more than one hundred chemicals. Requires the list to be reviewed and revised every three years and published on the Department of Environmental Protection website.

Defines, for the purpose of identification, ‘chemical of high concern’ as any chemical identified by the Department of Environmental Protection to: (1) harm the normal development of a fetus or child or cause other developmental toxicity; (2) cause cancer, genetic damage or reproductive harm; (3) disrupt the endocrine or hormone system; (4) damage the nervous system, immune system, organs or cause other toxicity; (5) be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic; or (6) be very persistent and very bioaccumulative.

Authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to participate in an interstate clearinghouse regarding the use of chemicals in consumer products.

Prefiled 2/13/2013. Referred to House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee 2/20/2013. Failed upon adjournment 5/3/2013.

Companion Bill: 2013 S.B. 1154

FLORIDA S.B. 1154 – BPA
Sponsored by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D)

Declares it is the policy of the State, consistent with its duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to reduce the exposure of pregnant women, children, and other vulnerable populations to chemicals of high concern by publicly identifying such chemicals and encouraging substitutions with safer alternatives whenever possible.

Requires, by January 14, 2014, the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Department of Health, to generate a list of chemicals of high concern that contains no fewer than fifty chemicals and no more than one hundred chemicals. Requires the list to be reviewed and revised every three years and published on the Department of Environmental Protection website.

Defines, for the purpose of identification, ‘chemical of high concern’ as any chemical identified by the Department of Environmental Protection to: (1) harm the normal development of a fetus or child or cause other developmental toxicity; (2) cause cancer, genetic damage or reproductive harm; (3) disrupt the endocrine or hormone system; (4) damage the nervous system, immune system, organs or cause other toxicity; (5) be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic; or (6) be very persistent and very bioaccumulative.

Authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to participate in an interstate clearinghouse regarding the use of chemicals in consumer products.

Prefiled 2/22/2013. Referred to Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee 3/1/2013. Failed upon adjournment 5/3/2013.

Companion Bill: 2013 H.B. 773

(GEORGIA)

H.B. 193 – SPECIAL REQUEST
Sponsored by Representative Ron Stephens (R)

Current version (3/20/2013) provides a new exemption for a limited period of time with respect to certain sales of eligible food and beverages to a qualified food bank. Provides a new exemption for a limited period of time with respect to the use of food which is donated to a qualified nonprofit agency and which is used for hunger relief purposes. Provides a new exemption for a limited period of time with respect to the use of food donated for disaster relief purposes.

Introduced in House 2/1/2013. Referred to Ways and Means Committee 2/5/2013. Proposal amended and passed 2/28/2013. Passed House and referred to Senate 3/5/2013. Referred to Finance Committee 3/7/2013. Proposal amended and passed 3/20/2013. Passed Senate, sent to House 3/25/2013. Repassed House, sent to Governor Nathan Deal (R) 3/28/2013. Vetoed by Governor 5/7/2013.

Governor Nathan Deal (R) vetoed this proposal. In his veto message, the Governor said, “House Bill 193 attempts to bring back input exemptions that had previously been sunset. The 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians recommended “that all nongovernment and nonbusiness input exemptions sunset so that the Legislature may determine if economic or non-economic justifications exist for renewing these exemptions.” In following their recommendation, I will request the Governor’s Competitiveness Initiative taskforce to review this bill and provide an opinion on whether economic or noneconomic justifications exist for the exemptions to be renewed during the next legislative session.” The State Legislature can override this veto with a 2/3 majority vote by each chamber.

This proposal repassed the House 160-10. This proposal passed the Senate 47-4. Previously, this proposal passed the House unanimously. The sponsor is a member of the majority party. Republicans control both chambers of the State Legislature as well as the Governor’s office.

Effective Date: 7/1/2013

H.B. 509 – SPECIAL REQUEST
Sponsored by Representative Keisha Waites (D)

Specifies that it is unlawful for any retailer doing business in this state to sell or offer to sell any potable water that is supplied to a tap, faucet, valve, or spigot within such retailer’s establishment to a consumer at a price greater than such water’s cost to the retailer.”

Introduced in House 2/27/2013. Referred to Natural Resources and Environment Committee 3/1/2013. Carried over upon adjournment 3/28/2013.

The General Assembly has adjourned the 2013 legislative session. In Georgia, bills that do not pass out of the General Assembly are carried over to the next legislative session.

The sponsor is a member of the minority party and is not a member of the committee of referral. Republicans control both chambers of the State Legislature as well as the Governor’s office.

(LOUISIANA)

H.B. 445 – MANDATORY DEPOSITS, RECYCLING
Sponsored by Representative Eddie Lambert (R)

Provides for a minimum refund of $0.05 on every beverage container sold or offered for sale which will be collected by a dealer and forwarded to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Requires every authorized redemption center to accept the container from and pay to the redeemer the Louisiana refund value, beginning December 1, 2013. Requires handling fees to be not less than $0.01 per aluminum can and $0.02 per other beverage container paid by the Department to the redemption center. Requires every beverage container sold in the state to clearly indicate the refund value of he container and the letters “LA Refund”. Exempts glass beverage containers which already have a refund value on the container.

Allows a redemption center to refuse to accept any broken glass bottle, dismembered container, or any container which contains a free-flowing liquid, does not properly indicate a Louisiana refund value, or contains a foreign material. Allows, but does not require, a dealer who is also an authorized redemption center to accept from a redeemer empty beverage containers for a refund in excess of $20 on any given day.

Allows the secretary of DEQ to promulgate rules and regulations concerning the circumstances in which a dealer is required to accept the return of empty containers and make payments, reporting requirements of dealers and redemption centers, the payment of handling fees, the rules for redemption at the dealer’s place of business, the right of dealers to restrict or limit the number of containers redeemed, the redemption of containers from a beverage for which sales have discontinued, the pickup of returned beverage containers and the initiations of deposits, sales through vending machines and on-premises consumption, recordkeeping, refunding for refillable containers, or labeling. Authorizes the secretary to issue permits to establish redemption centers. Allows dealers to operate a redemption center at their same location without a permit.

Prefiled and provisionally referred to the Committee on Commerce 3/29/2013. Referred to Natural Resources and Environment Committee 4/8/2013. Public hearing held, proposal deferred 4/24/2013. Public hearing held, proposal deferred 5/1/2013. Failed upon adjournment 6/6/2013.

H.B. 534 – TAX (BOTTLED WATER)
Sponsored by Representative Joel Robideaux (R)

Provides for a state sales and use tax exclusion for bottled drinking water.

Prefiled; referred to House Committee on Ways and Means 3/29/2013. Introduced 4/8/2013. Failed upon adjournment 6/6/2013.

S.B. 203 – GROUNDWATER, WATER CONSERVATION
Sponsored by Senator Dan Claitor (R)

Provides for certain groundwater restrictions as follows:
-From August 1, 2013, to July 31, 2014, the Commissioner of Conservation (commissioner) must not authorize, issue or re-issue any permit which allows the use or withdrawal of 40 million gallons or more of groundwater per day.
-From August 1, 2014, to July 31, 2015, the commissioner must not authorize, issue or re-issue any permit which allows the use or withdrawal of 35 million gallons or more of groundwater per day.
-From August 1, 2015, to July 31, 2016, the commissioner must not authorize, issue or re-issue any permit which allows the use or withdrawal of 30 million gallons or more of groundwater per day.
-From August 1, 2016, to July 31, 2017, the commissioner must not authorize, issue or re-issue any permit which allows the use or withdrawal of 25 million gallons or more of groundwater per day.
-Beginning August 1, 2017, the commissioner must not authorize, issue or re-issue any permit which allows the use or withdrawal of 20 million gallons or more of groundwater per day.

Prefiled and provisionally referred to the Committee on Natural Resources 3/29/2013. Public hearing held, proposal deferred 5/1/2013. Failed upon adjournment 6/6/2013.

(TENNESSEE)

H.B. 242 – BPA
Sponsored by Representative Brenda Gilmore (D)

Prohibits manufacturers from replacing bisphenol-A with reproductive toxicants that the Environmental Protection Agency has identified as causing birth defects, reproductive harm or developmental harm. Prohibits manufacturers from replacing bisphenol-A with endocrine disrupting chemicals identified by the European Commission on the Environment. Requires all food packaging that contains bisphenol-A to display a label on the front of the package stating “this package contains bisphenol-A.”

Defines “reusable food or beverage container” as receptacle for storing food or beverages, including, but not limited to, baby bottles, spill-proof cups, sports bottles, and thermoses.

Introduced 1/30/2013. Referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources 1/31/2013. Carried over upon adjournment 4/19/2013.

The General Assembly adjourned the 2013 legislative session. In Tennessee, bills that do not pass out of the General Assembly are carried over to the next legislative session.

Companion Bill: 2013 S.B. 698

H.B. 538 – MANDATORY DEPOSITS
Sponsored by Representative Jim Coley (R)

Establishes the Tennessee Beverage Container Recycling Refunds Act. Requires, by September 13, 2013, all deposit beverage distributors operating within the State to register with the Department of Revenue no later than one month prior to commencement of operations. Requires all deposit beverage distributors to maintain records reflecting the manufacture and import of beverages in deposit beverage containers. Mandates, by October 1, 2013, every deposit beverage distributor to pay the Department of Revenue a container-recovery fee for each deposit beverage container manufactured in or imported in to the State. Provides a payment timeline. States, by March 1, 2015, every deposit beverage distributor shall pay to the Department of Revenue a deposit of $0.05 on each deposit beverage container manufactured in the State.

Requires, by April 1, 2015, every deposit beverage distributor to charge the dealer or consumer a deposit equal to the refund value for each deposit beverage container sold in the State. Requires, by April 1, 2015, ever dealer to charge the consumer at the point of sale a deposit equal to the refund value for each deposit beverage container sold in the State, except for beverages intended for on-premises consumption.

Requires every deposit beverage container sold in the State to have a Tennessee refund value of $0.05 by April 1, 2015, with the refund value clearly printed, embossed, stamped, labeled or otherwise marked on the container, along with the word “Tennessee” or the letters “TN.” Requires each deposit beverage container to be encoded with the universal product code information regarding the size and type of container and the refund value of the container in the states in which the container is to be sold. Provides offering of adhesive stickers for inventory already in circulation.

Requires an redemption center wishing to operate in the State to be certified by the Department of Revenue prior to participation in the program. Mandates all certified redemption centers to accept all types of empty deposit beverage containers on which a Tennessee deposit has been paid and during a minimum number of hours or days per week. Allows the use of reverse vending machines.

Includes carbonated soft drinks, carbonated and noncarbonated water, flavored and sugared waters, tea and coffee, juices and alcoholic beverages in the definition of “deposit beverage.”

Introduced 1/31/2013. Referred to House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 2/6/2013. Hearing scheduled 3/20/2013. Hearing held 3/20/2013. Carried over upon adjournment 4/19/2013.

The General Assembly adjourned the 2013 legislative session. In Tennessee, bills that do not pass out of the General Assembly are carried over to the next legislative session.

Companion Bill: 2013 S.B. 1168

H.B. 1066 – GROUNDWATER, WATER CONSERVATION
Sponsored by Representative Kelly Keisling (R)

Final version (4/23/2013) renames the Water Environmental Health Act to the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Act. Provides duties for leadership of the oversight board.

Introduced 2/13/2013. referred to House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee 2/19/2013. Hearing held and passed; referred to House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 3/13/2013. Hearing held; deferred 3/19/2013. Hearing held; deferred 3/26/2013. Hearing held; proposal amended, passed and referred to House Government Operations Committee; hearing held; proposal passed and referred to House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee 4/9/2013. Hearing held; passed 4/16/2013. Passed House 4/17/2013. Amended on Senate floor, passed Senate; Sent to Governor Bill Haslam (R) 4/23/2013. Sent to Governor Bill Haslam (R) 5/13/2013.

Companion Bill: 2013 S.B. 1232

Effective Date: Upon enactment

S.B. 698 – BPA, LABELING (FOOD PACKAGING)
Sponsored by Senator Reginald Tate (D)

Prohibits manufacturers from replacing bisphenol-A with reproductive toxicants that the Environmental Protection Agency has identified as causing birth defects, reproductive harm or developmental harm. Prohibits manufacturers from replacing bisphenol-A with endocrine disrupting chemicals identified by the European Commission on the Environment. Requires all food packaging that contains bisphenol-A to display a label on the front of the package stating “this package contains bisphenol-A.”

Defines “reusable food or beverage container” as receptacle for storing food or beverages, including, but not limited to, baby bottles, spill-proof cups, sports bottles, and thermoses.

Introduced 1/31/2013. Referred to Senate Health and Welfare Committee 2/6/2013. Hearing held; referred to Health and Welfare General Subcommittee 3/20/2013. Carried over upon adjournment 4/19/2013.

The General Assembly adjourned the 2013 legislative session. In Tennessee, bills that do not pass out of the General Assembly are carried over to the next legislative session.

Companion Bill: 2013 H.B. 242

S.B. 1168 – MANDATORY DEPOSITS
Sponsored by Senator Reginald Tate (D)

Establishes the Tennessee Beverage Container Recycling Refunds Act. Requires, by September 13, 2013, all deposit beverage distributors operating within the State to register with the Department of Revenue no later than one month prior to commencement of operations. Requires all deposit beverage distributors to maintain records reflecting the manufacture and import of beverages in deposit beverage containers. Mandates, by October 1, 2013, every deposit beverage distributor to pay the Department of Revenue a container-recovery fee for each deposit beverage container manufactured in or imported in to the State. Provides a payment timeline. States, by March 1, 2015, every deposit beverage distributor shall pay to the Department of Revenue a deposit of $0.05 on each deposit beverage container manufactured in the State.

Requires, by April 1, 2015, every deposit beverage distributor to charge the dealer or consumer a deposit equal to the refund value for each deposit beverage container sold in the State. Requires, by April 1, 2015, ever dealer to charge the consumer at the point of sale a deposit equal to the refund value for each deposit beverage container sold in the State, except for beverages intended for on-premises consumption.

Requires every deposit beverage container sold in the State to have a Tennessee refund value of $0.05 by April 1, 2015, with the refund value clearly printed, embossed, stamped, labeled or otherwise marked on the container, along with the word “Tennessee” or the letters “TN.” Requires each deposit beverage container to be encoded with the universal product code information regarding the size and type of container and the refund value of the container in the states in which the container is to be sold. Provides offering of adhesive stickers for inventory already in circulation.

Requires an redemption center wishing to operate in the State to be certified by the Department of Revenue prior to participation in the program. Mandates all certified redemption centers to accept all types of empty deposit beverage containers on which a Tennessee deposit has been paid and during a minimum number of hours or days per week. Allows the use of reverse vending machines.

Includes carbonated soft drinks, carbonated and noncarbonated water, flavored and sugared waters, tea and coffee, juices and alcoholic beverages in the definition of “deposit beverage.”

Introduced 2/6/2013. Referred to Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 2/7/2013. Hearing held; referred to Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources General Subcommittee 3/20/2013. Carried over upon adjournment 4/19/2013.

The General Assembly adjourned the 2013 legislative session. In Tennessee, bills that do not pass out of the General Assembly are carried over to the next legislative session.

Companion Bill: 2013 H.B. 538

S.B. 1232 – GROUNDWATER, WATER CONSERVATION
Sponsored by Senator Jim Tracy (R)

Transfers administration of the Water Environmental Health Act from the Department of Environment and Conservation to the Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Introduced 2/14/2013. Referred to Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee 2/26/2013. Hearing scheduled 3/20/2013. Hearing held; passed and referred to Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee 3/20/2013. Substituted by House Companion 4/19/2013.

The General Assembly adjourned the 2013 legislative session.

This measure was substituted by its companion, S.B. 941. It is not likely that this measure will be considered during the 2014 legislative session.

Companion Bill: 2013 H.B. 1066