Bill calls for refunds when trash not picked up


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite opposition from cities and waste haulers, a House committee Monday approved a bill that could lead to refunds for customers if they face delays in garbage collection.

The House Commerce Committee backed the bill (HB 971), sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, though a Senate version (SB 1368) has not been heard in committees with less than two weeks left in the annual legislative session.

Fine’s bill would require that local governments or private waste haulers give refunds to customers whose garbage is not picked up within four days of the scheduled collection date.

“No one should be able to charge for something they do not provide, particularly when it is the government that mandates you buy it,” Fine said.

But critics said, in part, that the bill does not include exceptions for pick-up delays caused by such things as hurricanes.

The bill initially also would have barred cable-television and phone companies from charging customers for service interrupted more than 24 hours.

But Fine eliminated those parts of the bill Monday, leaving only the portion related to garbage collection.

Jon Moyle, a lobbyist for Waste Management, said it seemed like the other industries were getting “cut a break” with the change.

“To keep solid waste in seems a little unfair,” Moyle said.