On a recent afternoon, House Republicans introduced a bill to repeal a controversial measure in the state’s constitution that bars cities and counties from enacting any measures that require businesses to dump waste, chemicals or waste in public.
The bill would have required cities and towns to adopt a list of non-essential, non-economic activities that are prohibited in public spaces, including the recycling and disposal of trash, as well as the storage of hazardous waste.
The city and county could then impose a one-year moratorium on the practice of dumping waste, including all the steps necessary to clean up after it.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), said the measure would protect the health and safety of residents and businesses.
“No other American city or town would be able to ban all of the things that have been banned,” he said in a statement.
“We have a lot of problems, and I hope this bill will be the beginning of the beginning.”
The bill, which passed the House in May, was backed by a wide range of business groups, including American Waste Association, which represents some of the largest U.S. companies.
But the group’s president, Bill Drexler, said the bill was a thinly veiled effort to dismantle a ban that had been in place since the mid-1990s.
“There is no need for the city and counties to adopt such a ban because there is no real need for it,” Drexlers statement said.
“The only reason this bill is even in the legislative session is to allow the governor to ignore the voters’ will by passing a law without the legislature’s approval.”
“It’s an empty gesture,” Drazers statement continued.
“This bill is simply an attempt to undermine the will of the voters and to create confusion about who should be responsible for cleaning up after our cities and neighborhoods.”
It was unclear how many cities or towns would sign on to the measure, but Gaetz said he hoped the measure could be passed by both chambers.
“I am confident we will have enough support to pass it,” he told reporters on a conference call.
In a statement, the American Waste association said the proposal was a “step backwards” for the health of residents, businesses and the environment.
The American Waste group said the state was “not alone” in its approach to trash.
In California, for example, cities and municipalities have been allowed to ban the practice for more than a decade, despite a state law that bars municipalities from enactING any such restrictions.
But Gaetz insisted the bill would not “destroy” any existing regulations.
“There are no restrictions on this bill in California.
It’s a completely different approach, in my opinion,” he explained.
Gaetz said it was important for residents to be able “to take advantage of all of their garbage collection options.”
“What we’re trying to do is give everyone the opportunity to take advantage, and if you want to recycle, you’re welcome to do it,” the congressman said.