Backers and opponents of Iowa’s nickel bottle deposit law squared off last night at the statehouse. Former Governors Robert Ray and Terry Branstad joined current Governor Tom Vilsack to call on lawmakers to expand the law to include containers for beverages like sports drinks, juice and bottled water. Branstad says they need to improve and strengthen a good law.A bill that’s passed House and Senate committees expands the “Bottle Bill” but it gradually gets grocery stores out of the business of accepting empties, shifting the recycling to redemption centers. Governor Vilsack says legislators should just expand the “Bottle Bill” rather than make it more complicated. Vilsack challenged lawmakers to pass the bill and he says he will sign it.Former Governor Ray says the Bottle Bill’s working to reduce litter, it just needs to be updated. He says whatever they do, they should not destroy the bill as they try to improve. Garth Frable is the leader of the “Beautiful Land” Coalition. Frable says the bottle bill rises above politics to involve us all in improving our beautiful state.Grocery store managers gathered, too, to ask lawmakers not to expand the Bottle Bill. Scott Havens, who owns a grocery store in Norwalk, says his store can’t handle more drink containers. Havens says if they keep the bill the way it is, they’ll be fine.Jeff DeForest manages the Fareway store in Osceola. DeForest says he can’t imagine having to sort more types of bottles.Doug Fallgatter owns a grocery store in Northwood. He says they have a tough time storing the bottles they have now.Legislative leaders say the issue won’t be debated again in the House or Senate this year.
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