BILL OF THE WEEK: Senate Bill 892

CHIEF SPONSOR: Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland)

WHAT PROBLEM IT SEEKS TO SOLVE: Abbott Labs, maker of the dehydration- treating Pedialyte, claims its product should be exempt from the Oregon Bottle Bill, as are other liquid medical products, such as Pepto-Bismol.

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO: It would exempt Pedialyte from the Oregon Bottle Bill, which means buyers would no longer have to pay a 10-cent deposit. Now, buyers can return the bottle for recycling. Take away the deposit and more empties would end up in landfills—or the ocean.

WHO SUPPORTS IT: The Grocery Manufacturers Association; the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems; and, of course, Abbott Labs. "I continue to support SB 892, and I'm not alone," Burdick says. "This bill has solid support from health advocates."

WHO OPPOSES IT: The Oregon Association of Recyclers, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative. Critics use Abbott Labs' marketing campaigns to show the company increasingly markets Pedialyte, originally formulated for dehydrated children, as an elixir for hungover adults. The problem: Pedialyte is much more expensive than other electrolyte-rich drinks, such as Gatorade. "It's a beverage," says OBRC's Jules Bailey, "and it's a wolf in children's clothing."