- The start date for New York City's controversial 5-cent fee on single-use paper and plastic bags has now been pushed from October to February of next year.
- Speaker Carl Heastie of the State Assembly and Melissa Mark-Viverito of the New York City Council struck the deal to allow more time for their members to fine-tune the city's plan.
- This comes after the Assembly's Committee on Cities passed a bill that would prevent any municipalities within the state from placing fees on bags last week. A similar bill was passed in the State Senate on Tuesday.
The compromise seems to signal that New York's bag bill is safe for now. While legislation to reverse the fee passed the Republican-controlled State Senate, its prospects were less certain in the majority Democratic Assembly. This also doesn't mean the debate will go away any time soon.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed legislation requiring that stores of at least 10,000 square feet, or 5,000-square-foot stores that are part of a chain, install plastic bag collection bins. The bill also requires bins be placed near the front door, that stores accept newspaper and dry cleaning bags, and that future plastic bags have the text "Please return to a participating store for recycling." State law requiring plastic bag take-back and recycling is already in place and it's unclear how this bill is substantially different.
This question of whether the bags can be effectively recycled has been a key part of the ongoing national debate. A number of other states have explored legislation to stop local bag bans or fees. The fate of California's previously approved ban will be decided by referendum this fall.