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Texas governor rejects TV recycling bill

June 24, 2009
HB821VetoProtest 075Green Right Now – ABC News
Harriet Blake

Texas Gov. Rick Perry surprised environmentalists, and others, when he recently vetoed the TV Take Back Bill (HB 821), which would have allowed Texans to recycle their outdated televisions for free as part of the necessary switch to digital TV.

It was a defeat for Texas environmentalists who not only had the support of local governments but TV manufacturers as well.

“We were in complete shock given the wide statewide support for the bill. We even had secured the endorsement of the industry lobbying group [the American Electronics Association],” said Jeff Jacoby of the Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE).

In his veto, Gov. Perry acknowledged that the bill would make it easier for consumers to recycle old televisions but said “it does so at the expense of manufacturers, retailers and recyclers by imposing onerous new mandates, fees and regulations” and would also “generate unfair results and stifle competition.”

In a statement released Monday, the TCE noted that it didn’t seem so onerous to Austin lawmakers: The bill had no opposition and passed overwhelmingly in the House and unanimously in the Senate.

“HB 821 would have provided Texans free, convenient recycling for obsolete televisions,” said TCE staffer Zac Trahan.

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The TV Take Back bill would have operated much like an earlier measure, House Bill 2714, which passed in the last legislative session to regulate the recycling of computer equipment. That bill provided incentives to computer makers for taking back equipment from other companies, and did not allow for fees on the makers, sellers and recyclers of computers.

“Across the country, this (TV Take Back) is certainly not the most stringent mandate,” says Jacoby, who described the TV and computer programs as nearly identical. “It’s a market-based approach.”

Perry, however, said that before implementing such programs as the TV Take Back Bill, representatives and senators should have looked at voluntary recycling programs.

(Click here to read TCE’s response to Governor Perry’s veto.)

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