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05/28/2024 12:41 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 15, 2015 10:35 AM
From: Senator Judith L. Schwank and Sen. Patrick M. Browne
To: All Senate members
Subject: Municipal Waste Recycling
We will soon introduce legislation to remove uncertainty and unequal treatment in the funding for municipal recycling programs created by a court case.
In 2013, a Commonwealth Court panel concluded that Act 101 (the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Law) limits municipal governments to grants from the state and the proceeds from sales of recyclables to fund their state-mandated recycling programs, and interpreted similar provisions relating to government powers in the various municipal codes to create authority in some forms of local government to nonetheless levy program fees, but not in others to do so.
Procedural circumstances rendered the ruling unenforceable but the court has since cited its reasoning in other Act 101 cases, perpetuating concerns that an enforceable order could be entered in the future. As a result, many municipalities, particularly home-rule communities, do not know whether they can include fee revenue in their budgets. And, because inadequate Act 101 funding excuses municipalities from recycling, the ruling could overturn the accomplishments the state has made with recycling over the last three decades together with the understanding of the law that has existed.
Our legislation will maintain the status quo that has existed since Act 101 was enacted, clarifying that all forms of cities, boroughs and townships may collect a local fee for mandated recycling. We hope you will join this effort to continue to achieve the successes the Commonwealth has had in dealing with waste-recycling.

Introduced as SB1041