The Legislature won’t be in session for nearly a month, but already a couple of members are talking trash.
One legislator wants a five-year ban on organized garbage collection in Minnesota, while another said the issue helped him win an upset victory this week in a Bloomington district.
“Clearly, taking away consumer choice is not working. And consumers — citizens — clearly do not like it,” said Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington. “It’s time to hit the pause button and get people back to the table for better ways to address this.”
Under organized collection, a city government negotiates trash pickup for the entire city, typically with one hauler or a small group of haulers.
It has been controversial in many Minnesota cities, most recently in Bloomington, where the City Council adopted it last year over vocal opposition.
The newest member of Bloomington’s legislative delegation said the trash issue played a big role in his win over City Council Member Andrew Carlson, who voted for organized collection in the city.
“It was a big issue. I’d knock on the door and right away they’d say, ‘How do you feel about garbage?’ ” said Chad Anderson, a Republican who was elected to serve out the term of longtime DFL Rep. Ann Lenczewski.
The Legislature in 2013 passed a law setting up a detailed process for cities seeking to adopt organized collection.
Garofalo’s bill, which he already has in the hopper for the session that starts March 8, would put an end to that. It would bar cities without an organized collection system from creating one until Jan. 1, 2021.
“Obviously, given what happened in Bloomington, the current process is broken,” Garofalo said Thursday.
He added that he plans to name Anderson as chief author of the trash moratorium bill after the new legislator is sworn in next week.