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Mass. Senate Approves Expanded Bottle Bill

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has given supporters of an expanded bottle bill a surprise win.

With no debate Thursday, the Senate approved the proposal as an amendment to a jobs and economic development bill.

The proposal would extend the state’s bottle bill to include containers that hold water, iced tea and other non-carbonated beverages. The current law assesses a refundable nickel deposit on carbonated beverage bottles, including beer and soda.

Just last month the bill appeared dead on Beacon Hill.

The bill’s critics have argued that expanding the existing law would amount to a new tax on consumers and hurt small businesses that would be required to handle increased bottle returns.

The proposal must still be approved by the Massachusetts House and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick before becoming law.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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