UPDATE: On Tuesday, the State Senate voted 36-22 on a bill that prohibits "any tax, fee or local charge" on disposable bags in the state. The bill will still need approval from the Assembly and Governor Andrew Cuomo
- The New York State Assembly's Committee on Cities has approved legislation that would prevent any municipalities from placing fees on disposable bags. The New York League of Conservation Voters aims to raise $10,000 in an effort to block the bill.
- This comes after New York's City Council recently approved a 5-cent fee on single-use paper and plastic bags.
- The bill must also be approved by the Senate's Cities Committee, voted on by both legislative bodies and signed by the governor before going in to effect.
This is one of many such bills that has come up in state legislatures across the country. The Michigan Senate approved similar legislation last month. After a successful campaign by the plastics industry, the fate of California's previously approved bag ban will be decided by voters in a referendum this fall.
The issue has been hotly debated in recent years, with many citing concerns over disposable bags' effects on the environment. While proponents of the bags say that bans or fees will disproportionately affect low-income communities and be inconvenient to consumers.
The decision to implement a 5-cent fee in New York was the City Council's closest vote in years. It's no surprise that legislators from city districts are the ones driving the statewide conversation now. With only two weeks left in this year's state legislative session, and many larger items left to address, the bill's prospects are uncertain.