In an attempt to ban certain plastics from several Missouri waterways, lawmakers accidentally wrote out an important component to a bill that will take affect this week.
Sen. Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City, said the original bill wording included the ban on Styrofoam, or polystyrene, and polypropylene coolers. Because Styrofoam is a trademark, it had to be taken out of the bill, but too much was cut.
Scott said the section including “expanded polystyrene” was also cut, a term used to denote the chemical properties of white foam products like coffee cups and coolers.
What was left, and slipped through when the bill was passed, was polypropylene, more commonly known as Tupperware.
Although the damage is done, Scott said he hopes to introduce a consent bill during the Senate’s next session to add in the technical name for Styrofoam.
As for the Tupperware ban, he said the bill specifically calls for “coolers,” so if Tupperware makes a cooler, it should not be brought to the smaller streams and waterways the bill seeks to protect.
How does such an error occur when passing a bill?
Scott said that was just a small part of a bigger bill intended to curb pollution, rowdiness and drinking on float trips by limiting high-octane, “get-me-drunk-fast” alcohols and utensils such as beer bongs.
Families and church groups cannot enjoy a canoe outing, he said, because of the lewd behavior found on the waterways, and it is his hope to change that.
Through this legislation, possessing a beer bong, alcohol funnel, containers that hold more than 4 gallons of alcohol and expanded polypropylene coolers will now be a misdemeanor charge, carrying a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
Lawmakers modeled the bill after federal regulations in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, covering the Current and Jacks Fork rivers in southeast Missouri.
Scott said the bill does not apply to the Lake of the Ozarks or the Osage and Missouri rivers. It is intended only for smaller rivers and streams most commonly used for canoeing.
What the bill prohibits
BEER BONGS or other devices used for rapid alcohol consumption
LARGE VOLUME alcohol containers that hold more than 4 gallons
COOLERS made from expanded polypropylene
Bans that didn’t make it
BEAD NECKLACES or similar paraphernalia that promotes nakedness
STYROFOAM or polystyrene coolers
GELATIN-form alcohol like Jell-o shots