Tennessee moves to stop cities from banning plastic bags

FILE - This Oct. 25, 2013 file photo shows single-use plastic bag along a roadside in Sacramento, Calif. California voters are considering two separate initiatives on plastic bags this November. Following the lead of several large cities, the legislature two years ago passed a statewide ban on the single-use bags, but manufacturers have managed to keep its implementation on hold. They oppose Proposition 67, which would uphold the ban. A coalition of environmental groups, grocers, and others is leading the "Yes" campaign to uphold the measure. Another measure, Proposition 65, would require that any fees collected from customers for other grocery bags go into a special fund for the environment. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee could become the latest state to ban local municipalities from regulating certain plastic bags and utensils.

House lawmakers on Monday advanced a proposal making it illegal for local governments to impose bag bans, restrictions on Styrofoam containers and other disposable products. The bill must now pass the Senate before it can head to the governor’s desk for final approval.

The bill is being debated in the GOP-dominant Statehouse as Memphis and Nashville — the state’s most populous cities that also lean more liberal — have recently considered levying taxes against single-use plastic bags. The plastic bags industry has opposed such taxes, but state lawmakers have been more willing to pre-empt the local governments.

Minority Democratic members opposed the bill, arguing the General Assembly should not bypass local government decisions. However, proponents countered that the bill is vital for businesses because it can be costly when a state has a patchwork of plastic bag policies.

The state currently has no plastic bag ban in place.

Tennessee is one of at least five states where lawmakers are considering pre-empting local governments from taxing or banning plastic bags that are used to carry everything from groceries to clothing and cosmetics, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ website. Eleven other states, including Texas, Arizona and Florida, already have similar laws in place, the NCSL said.

The proposal is similar to a separate bill also making its way in the Tennessee Statehouse that would limit the powers of community oversight panels in charge of investigating possible police misconduct. While the state already had two panels in place, lawmakers were moved to get involved after Nashville voters approved a new oversight board in November over opposition from the local police union.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.