Austin legislator seeks to revive bag bans

Hide caption @asherprice Months after a state court put the kibosh on municipal plastic bag bans, an Austin legislator proposed a law Wednesday that would give cities like Austin the authority to revive such bans. In June, the Texas Supreme Court said cities may not bar retailers from providing customers with disposable bags at the checkout counter. The court said bag bans run afoul of a state law that prohibits cities from trying to reduce waste by banning “containers” and “packages.” Although the terms are not defined in the law, their plain meaning must be read to include bags, the court ruled. By early July, Austin officials announced that they would stop enforcing the city’s 5-year-old ban on disposable bags. The bans on single-use bags were aimed at curbing litter and driven by other environmental concerns. In Austin, retailers were handing out almost 200 million fewer plastic bags a year under the ordinance, according to a 2015 city report. Before the court decision, conservatives, with the support of the bag industry, unsuccessfully pushed bills to eliminate the prohibitions as an affront to individual and economic liberty. The new bill by state Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, would narrow the definition […]

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