ANOTHER YOKE ON
For all the talk about “supporting local journalism,”
it appears New York state government isn’t
all that interested in doing so.
It’s no secret that the journalism business —
the only industry protected by the Constitution, as John
F. Kennedy once said — is under siege by a barrage
of financial complications that predate the pandemic
itself. At this point, no company can afford additional
burdens that stand in the way of producing quality, essential
journalism to keep the public informed.
Yet the state Legislature seems hellbent on throwing
another yoke onto the neck of our oxen with the Extended
Producer Liability Act.
The legislation has an aim that doesn’t sound so bad
on paper: making product producers responsible for
recycling their products after use. But if passed, it will
have the unintended consequence of driving another
nail into the local journalism coffin.
The bill mandates that any company that produces
“product packaging, plastic wrappers and bottles and
paper products” — such as brochures, flyers, catalogs,
booklets, telephone directories and, you guessed it,
newspapers and magazines — bears the financial burden
of recycling unused or undistributed materials.
For full disclosure: Our company, Schneps Media,
has more than 70 different newspapers and magazines
circulated across New York City daily, weekly and
monthly. You can imagine the kind of devastating impact
this act would have should the Legislature pass it,
and should Governor Andrew Cuomo sign it into law.
It is utterly ridiculous that newspaper companies
are not exempt from this law. To say nothing about the
vital services we provide, the journalism industry already
takes great pains to be eco-friendly.
As Michelle Rea, New York Press Association president,
recently pointed out, newsprint accounts for less
than 7 percent of all solid waste in a community. The
printing industry has committed to using more recycled
newsprint in its products, and the materials themselves
— including non-toxic ink — are biodegradable.
Newspapers should be exempt from the Extended
Producer Liability Act. The legislation further endangers
an already stressed industry that needs more relief,
not more restrictions, to deliver the news and essential
information you need every day.
Long Island state Senator Todd Kaminsky is the
main sponsor of the bill. Reach out to his office by calling
518-455-3401 and let him know that this bill is bad
for New York journalism.
And please call your local state Assembly member
or state senator and tell them to give your local newspaper
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