By Mike Kruzman /

A bill sponsored and introduced by a couple of local lawmakers that directs the spending of unclaimed bottle returns has been signed by the governor.

51st District Republican Representative Mike Mueller of Linden sponsored House Bill 4780, which was also introduced by 47th District Republican Representative Bob Bezotte of Marion Township. The bill is part of the Bottle Bill Enforcement Fund package which amends the beverage container deposit law. The Fund will take the first $1-million from unclaimed bottle refunds and allow Michigan State Police to run a grant program for local law enforcement to prevent, investigate and prosecute bottle fraud.

Both Mueller and Bezotte have law enforcement ties, as Bezotte is the former Livingston County Sheriff and Mueller has working with both the Livingston County and Washtenaw County sheriff’s offices.

Under the bill, if the Fund balance at the end of a fiscal year is greater than $3-million, then deposits into it would suspend until the balance falls under $2-million. After that first million is dispersed, 75% of the remaining amount will go towards cleanup and redevelopment trust funds created in the bill. The remaining 25% will go to dealers, apportioned on the basis of the number of empty returnable containers handled by them as determined by the State Treasury.