Plastic bag bans are all the rage in progressive locals like Austin and Portland, and the entire state of California, but Michigan is having none of it.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley recently signed a bill that banned plastic bag bans, along with any local ordinance that would restrict the use of certain types of disposable containers and packaging.
From the WaPo:
Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the new public act into law on Wednesday, along with 11 other bills. Gov. Rick Snyder is currently on vacation out of state, local news sources reported, and Calley has the authority to sign bills into law in his absence.
The new public act prohibits local ordinances from “regulating the use, disposition, or sale of, prohibiting or restricting, or imposing any fee, charge, or tax on certain containers,” including plastic bags, as well as cups, bottles and other forms of packaging. This means individual cities and municipalities are not allowed to ban plastic bags or charge customers a fee for using them.
Bans and restrictions on the use of plastic bags are widespread in other parts of the country and around the world. The rationale is simple: Plastic bags are infamous non-biodegradable sources of pollution — although they will eventually break down into tiny pieces, scientists believe this process can take hundreds of years, or even up to a century, in landfills.
Do plastic bags really take centuries to decompose? No one knows for certain, but plenty have speculated.
In any case, the ban ban means Washtenaw County, who planned to enforce a ten cent tax on disposable plastic and paper grocery bags this year, has been pre-empted by state law.
Not all state lawmakers are thrilled with Michigan curtailing local authorities ability to nickel and dime residents:
Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, spoke in opposition to the bill on the House floor.
“This is a bill that attacks local control,” Irwin said.
The bill passed anyway, 62-46. It passed the Senate 25-12. Calley signed it on Wednesday; it’s his constitutional power to sign bills when Gov. Rick Snyder is out of the state. Snyder is out of state spending time with his family, a spokeswoman said.
The bills were championed by the Michigan Restaurant Association, which claimed a victory with the bill’s signing. It prevents chain restaurants and retailers for having to comply with a patchwork of local container ordinances, said association Vice President of Government Affairs Robert O’Meara.
“With many of our members owning and operating locations across the state, preventing a patchwork approach of additional regulations is imperative to avoid added complexities as it related to day-to-day business operations,” O’Meara said.
Well shucks, no tedious regulation that would’ve required small businesses to purchase more costly materials to satisfy lawmakers passing ordinances based on junk (or at the very least, inconclusive) science.
A win for small businesses, I say.
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