FRANKFORT, KY. — Kentucky's bottle bill has hit a major snag, as Democratic lawmakers in the state House told one of their leaders that the bill should be rewritten to address soft drink industry concerns. The bill is sponsored by House Majority Leader Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, but a caucus of Democratic legislators told Stumbo in a closed-door meeting Feb. 16 to "extend an olive branch to industry," said Mike Brown, president of the Kentucky Beverage Industry Recycling Program and general manager of Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers office in Louisville.
Stumbo's proposal is a significant political issue in Kentucky, attracting support from the state's two largest newspapers and well-financed opposition from a coalition that includes the plastics industry.
Stumbo planned to meet with industry representatives Feb. 18.
The legislation narrowly passed a House committee Feb. 15, squeaking out in a dramatic 15 to 14 vote. But Brown said several of the legislators who voted for the bill in committee did not plan to support it on the floor.
Pat Franklin, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute in Arlington, Va., agreed that the legislation does not have majority support among Stumbo's party. The legislation is still alive, but she blamed an effective industry lobbying effort for stalling it.