For recycling and composting in the state of Missouri, it has been a roller coaster of a legislative session.
The past 5 months.
In December, we learned of an effort to dissolve the Solid Waste Management Districts (SWMDs), which distribute funds as grants to municipalities, businesses and organizations throughout the state. The money which funds the grants, comes from the fee which is charged per ton of solid waste that is dumped at landfills or transfer stations ($2.11 of the $45 per ton tipping fee).
The money for this appropriation is not part of state’s General Revenue and is not a tax – it is a merely a fee on solid waste disposed in landfills (and in Missouri, the tipping fee to dispose of solid waste in a landfill is one of the lowest in the country).
In February, the bill that would dissolve the districts was passed out of the Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment committee and is currently stalled in the Senate. This outcome is the direct result of each individual’s effort to contact his or her state Senator.
In April (on Earth Day!), a House appropriation bill was presented that would eliminate the SWMDs. Again, through mass mobilization, funds that had already been allocated for 2013-14 were put back into the budget but a lesser amount than was awarded to grant recipients, which will create a challenge in 2014.
To offset the reduced appropriation, districts are working to get all of the current grant projects up and running by June 30. Once the District has the funds for individual projects in place, those funds are safe and the projects may proceed.
Where to from here?
During the last week of the legislative session, there was a last attempt to insert a number of the provisions from original Senate bill (SB 13) into other bills, which would have significantly reduced the amount of funding available for recycling programs, state-wide. A final outreach effort helped address this that issue, with the end result being the creation of an ‘Interim Committee’ that will review the program and file a report with the legislature between now and the end of the year.
An Interim Committee will provide an opportunity to tell legislators about the demand for recycling and the growth of work within the state that has been completed by grant-recipients in meeting this demand. Once details about the Committee are made available, we will share those and how you can help to ensure that our elected officials make intelligent decisions when it comes to land use and conserving resources.