Senator Moore's Legislation to Protect the Environment

H.646, An Act improving recycling in the Commonwealth- For the past three sessions, Senator Moore has been a primary sponsor of comprehensive recycling reform for Massachusetts.  The Commonwealth’s existing recycling infrastructure is outdated and inefficient.  The primary state recycling program remains the bottle deposit law, a dated policy targeting litter prevention, not recycling.  Moving Massachusetts’ recycling forward will offer significant savings for taxpayers and communities.  Senator Moore’s bill would phase out the bottle deposits paid by residents, and institute a one cent fee on beverage manufacturers and distributors. Under the current system, the Commonwealth relies on people not returning their cans through the deposit system.  By collecting a fee on every bottle, this program will bring in millions more than the deposit system, despite the smaller fee. The funds collected from the beverage industry would go directly into a newly created Municipal Recycling Enhancement Fund. The Fund would distribute the money to municipalities to develop better recycling policies, including single-stream, curbside pick-up, and pay as you throw programs.  You can find the bill text and monitor its progress on the Legislature’s website: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H646.

S.446, An Act enhancing the enforcement of illegal hunting practices- Poaching—the illegal harming or killing of wildlife—is a serious problem across the country and in the Commonwealth. Law enforcement officials report that poachers are rarely, if ever, breaking the law to put food on the table. This legislation elevates Massachusetts’ penalties for poaching to bring them in line with other states. This will provide adequate deterrence for poachers who illegally exploit wildlife and cheat ethical hunters and other residents. The bill elevates fines, jail time, and license suspensions for existing laws, some of which have remained unchanged since the 1930s. It also creates an elevated penalty for chronic poachers with repeat violations, to give the Massachusetts Environmental Police an additional tool to target those who blatantly disregard our laws. Additionally, this legislation would bring Massachusetts into a nationwide law enforcement network known as the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Massachusetts is one of just 7 states that is not a member or in the process of joining, and the only state in New England. Membership in the compact will end our state’s status as a “safe haven” for out-of-state poachers whose licenses have been suspended in other states and it prevents resident violators from evading punishment by applying for a license in a state other than where the violator lives. You can find the bill text and monitor its progress on the Legislature’s website: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S446.

S.447, An Act relative to hunting with Unmanned Aerial Systems- This legislation makes it illegal for Unmanned Arial Systems, or drones, to be used for the purpose of hunting.  Recent advancements in technology have made drones notably cheaper and easier to use, especially for individual citizens. One issue that has manifested in other states is hunters using UAS to track their prey, harass hunters, and disturb wildlife. Several states have made regulatory changes to ban these methods, which is in direct opposition to the concept of fair-chase hunting.  While the Massachusetts General Laws already outlaws the use of motor vehicles during hunting, UAS do not qualify as ‘aircraft’ under the existing definition.  Similar efforts in other states have been met with approval from hunting, animal, and environmental advocates alike.  Updating the statute to include Unmanned Arial Systems maintains the intent of the existing law and brings our hunting regulations into line with technological advancements. You can find the bill text and monitor its progress on the Legislature’s website: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S447.