UPDATE: New York State Senate approves bill to prohibit NYC bag fee
UPDATE: The New York State Senate voted 48-12 to approve S00362, a bill that would prohibit New York City's bag fee, as reported by Politico and The New York Times. This would specifically target New York's fee, but not existing fees in communities on Long Island. In order to take effect this bill would need to be passed by the Assembly and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Neither party has given any indication of how they will act on the measure so far.
- State legislators have resumed their efforts to prohibit New York City's 5-cent fee on single-use paper and plastic bags less than a month before it is set to take effect, as reported by Politico.
- S00362, a new bill introduced by state Senator Simcha Felder, would prohibit "the imposition of any tax, fee or local charge on carry-out merchandise bags in cities having a population of one million or more." An identical bill, A01750, has also been introduced in the state Assembly.
- Felder and other legislators hosted a press conference outside New York City Hall to stop the "bag tax" on Jan. 15. Local legislators, environmental advocates and Sims Municipal Recycling — which operates the city's main material recovery facility — have been voicing their support of the fee in response.
The New York City Council voted to pass the bag fee in May 2016 after reaching a compromise to reduce the proposed 10-cent fee. This was one of the council's most contentious votes in recent years and the bill faced opposition from state legislators almost immediately. In June, the law's planned start date was pushed from October to February after negotiations between legislative leaders.
Based on these latest efforts neither side seems to have changed their opinion in the months since. After previously making headway with legislation that would have prohibited bag fees, Felder has now updated his approach to target New York City specifically. No other city in the state has a population with more than one million people. Felder's office did not respond to a request for clarification about why this language had been changed.
While multiple states have now passed laws prohibiting local bag ordinances, none target one city in this way. The discussion has come up in Texas most recently, where some state legislators are attempting to repeal ordinances in Austin and other cities through legal action. Both there and in New York, proponents of local control have begun portraying this as state overreach which could become a more common tactic moving forward.
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