Lawmakers continue to discuss how distribution of the nickel deposits on bottles and cans of beer and carbonated beverages that are sold in Iowa might be restructured.
A key senator is expressing doubts, though, that this is the year the so-called Bottle Bill will be changed. Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver points to April 30, which is the target date for ending the 2021 legislative session.
“There is still progress being made,” Whitver says, “but it will be difficult to wrap that up in the next three weeks.”
Republican Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta is among the House members hoping to come up with a compromise by that deadline.
“We are probably starting to run out of time,” Lundgren says, “so I think we have to come with some language and get that out there.”
Representative Chuck Isenhart, a Democrat from Dubuque, says something must be done to address the dwindling number of options for consumers who want to return the empties and get their deposits back.
“I think we need to be cognizant of consumer convenience,” Isenhart says.
But Senator Whitver says no single solution has emerged that has enough support to pass either the House or Senate.
“If there are 12 different ideas, there’s not one and you need one to make it law and I know a lot of legislators, a lot of interests on every side are working on this,” Whitver says. “We haven’t got a whole lot closer than we were in January.”
During an appearance on Iowa PBS this weekend, Whitver agreed with an interviewer that debates about the Bottle Bill are a bit like the movie “Groundhog Day” since they restart every January when the legislature convenes.