Bills disallowing local bans or fees on plastic items pass committees

Senate and House committees have approved companion bills that would leave it to the state to decide to ban, regulate or tax plastic grocery bags and other single-use containers.

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee voted 9-2 Tuesday, April 9, for SB244 by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, while the House State Government Committee approved the companion legislation – HB346 by Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, R-Rainsville. Both bills now go to their respective chambers for consideration.

Under the legislation, only the state could ban, regulate, tax or charge usage fees related to cups, straws, plastic bags, takeout containers, Styrofoam and other “auxiliary” food, beverage or merchandise containers.

We put enough restraints on small business as it is,” Ledbetter told al.com. The House sponsor said instead of banning packaging, a better approach would be to increase litter fines to keep consumers from disposing of the commonly used containers improperly.

The legislation does not prevent a state ban, tax or fee. It also allows necessary recycling programs to stay in place. “We want to continue to do the recycling,” Livingston told the committee.

A coalition of business groups, including the Alabama Retail Association, supports this legislation so businesses throughout the state can operate under packaging product laws and regulations that are uniform for goods used daily in their operations.  We thank the members of these two committees for supporting business on this issue.

This article is part of the Alabama Retail Report, a communication for Alabama Retail Association members. Not a member? Join us!

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