Legislative doors have closed in more than 40 states, signaling the approaching end of the 2019 state legislative session across the country. HCPA has monitored more than 400 bills since January, ranging from chemical bans, ingredient communication, pesticide restrictions, packaging reductions, environmentally preferable procurement and more.
Ingredient communication in New York continues to be a priority issue for HCPA’s State Government Relations & Public Policy team. This year, there was an ingredient communication proposal in the state’s budget that was vague and, ultimately, unworkable. HCPA passionately advocated against the inclusion of these unfavorable disclosure requirements and successfully removed the language from the Governor’s budget. During this process, HCPA and our allied trades prepared suggested bill text for use in the next session. This text closely resembles California’s Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017, which was a carefully crafted compromise led by HCPA between industry, NGOs and other groups.
The New York legislature also proposed an unreasonable threshold for 1,4-dioxane levels in cleaning products, which unfortunately passed in both the Assembly and the Senate. HCPA is currently working with other allied trade associations to educate Governor Cuomo’s office about the misinformation surrounding 1,4-dioxane. As part of this effort, HCPA generated coverage of the issue in media, including publishing an open letter to Governor Cuomo in the Albany Times Union. Not only is the 1,4-dioxane residue from cleaning products not the source of Long Island’s polluted groundwater, but it is important to point out that there will be significant technological and financial challenges to removing 1,4-dioxane from products. In collaboration with allied trades, HCPA submitted a chapter amendment to the bill for Governor Cuomo’s consideration that proposed a 10 parts per million (ppm) limit for 1,4-dioxane, which is in line with other regulations around the world.
Approximately one-fourth of the bills HCPA tracked this session were related to restrictions on pesticides, herbicides and rodenticides. States continue to focus significant efforts on reclassifying neonicotinoids as restricted use pesticides to protect pollinator populations. A bill in New York that would have prohibited the sale of certain products containing neonicotinoids and fipronil was not passed; however, it attempted to set a precedent by grouping fipronil with neonicotinoids. Since neonicotinoids continue to be unjustly targeted by state legislatures, it is important to keep fipronil – and other pesticides – separate from neonicotinoids.
HCPA was successful in defeating bills that would have restricted the use of pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, in Oregon, Minnesota, New York, Illinois and Texas.
Additionally, Missouri sought to increase its pesticide registration fee for the second consecutive session. The bill would have increased fees for all Department of Agriculture programs, raising pesticide registrations by $50. The bill stalled in committee upon adjournment, but HCPA aniticipates this proposal will most likely resurface next year.
Legislators in Oregon once again raised a bill that would require manufacturers to pay into a new program for products that finish their lifecycle as household hazardous waste. This legislation has been pursued for several years by Metro (a local government consortium near the Portland area) to help fund hazardous waste disposal. HCPA was successful in holding this bill in the House Ways and Means Committee until adjournment, but expects it to be reintroduced next year.
Washington state passed and enacted green chemistry legislation to protect marine life in the Puget Sound. This bill authorizes the Department of Ecology (DEC) to restrict priority chemicals and consumer products that are significant sources of these chemicals. This legislation is meant to protect the region’s orca whales because a taskforce identified toxic contaminants as one of the key threats against their population. HCPA was part of a large and broad-based industry coalition opposed to this measure, which was successful in amending parts of the bill to limit the DEC’s oversight.
The California legislature is in session until mid-September. While multiple legislative efforts focused on green chemistry, packaging reduction and rodenticides are still pending in committees, HCPA has successfully amended or defeated nearly all other legislation of concern.
HCPA has celebrated many legislative wins this year, and we’d like to thank our members for their continued support and dedication to our advocacy efforts. However, as we close this session and gear up for the next, there is still plenty of work to do. We encourage our members to stay up-to-date with our activity by subscribing to HCPA’s News Brief and other forms of HCPA communications. If you have any questions, please reach out to Allyson Azar (firstname.lastname@example.org) or J.D. Darr (email@example.com).