By: Jared Paben
A bill making changes to Maine’s electronics recycling framework became law after the legislature overrode the governor’s veto.
Under Maine’s extended producer responsibility (EPR) program for electronics, OEMs are charged the costs of recycling TVs and video game consoles based on the amount of new TVs and game consoles they sell on the market. But for IT equipment – which includes portable DVD players, monitors, laptops, tablets, e-readers, printed and digital picture frames – they are charged based on the weight of their own products collected for recycling.
Legislative Document 1847 (LD 1847) required that all calculations now be based on share sold into the market. An official with the state Department of Environmental Protection previously said such a shift would reduce labor, storage and administration costs.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on April 3 and the Senate on April 4. However, Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed the bill on April 13.
In a letter explaining his veto, he wrote that while he’s supportive of efforts to streamline and simplify the law to bring the regulations in line with those in other states, he believes something must be done to address costs to businesses and citizens.
“This bill does nothing to address fees being charged,” LePage said. “To improve our business climate, every effort should be made to reduce fees charged to the Maine people and our companies, when the program is streamlined and made more efficient. This is the true purpose of good public policy.”
The Wall Street Journal reported LePage, a two-term governor who is legally barred from a third consecutive term, has vetoed over 500 bills, more than any governor in the state’s history. He even named his dog “Veto.”
On April 17, the Maine House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, voted 137-8 to override Gov. LePage’s veto. That same day, the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans, voted 35-0 to do the same.
Maine was among the first states to pass legislation creating a statewide framework for electronics recycling. California, in 2003, was the first to pass an e-scrap law. Maine passed its law in 2004.
With the recent program shift now officially on the books in Maine, Connecticut is the only remaining state to calculate manufacturer recycling requirements based on what is actually collected for recycling and not on market share of sales of new products.