Bill to block local fees, bans on plastic bags heading to DeWine’s desk

Ohio lawmakers, grocers and business groups are looking to block local governments from regulating the use of plastic grocery bags and other carryout containers.

The Ohio House voted 57-34 on Wednesday for a bill to block local governments from putting fees or bans on the use of plastic grocery bags and other single-use containers.

The bill now moves to Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk for signature or veto.

ExploreLocals may be blocked from taxing, banning plastic grocery bags in Ohio

The legislation is backed by grocers and other retailers but opposed by environmental groups and local officials who say it is an infringement on Ohio’s home rule powers.

The Senate included a one-year sunset provision but in general, the Ohio Mayors Alliance opposes legislation that pre-empts local authority, said Keary McCarthy, spokesman for the alliance, which represents Ohio’s largest cities.

The city of Bexley and Cincinnati and Cuyahoga County each have endorsed plans to ban single-use plastic bags.

Eight states have statewide bans on single-use plastic bags and several large cities such as Boston, New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C. have imposed bans or fees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“The state legislature again shows that they do not believe in the conservative principle that the best government is the one closest to the people,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. “Like their colleagues in Washington, D.C., they are only interested in power, not principles.”

State Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., said the bill provides uniform business regulations across the state and prohibits what he called an unfair tax on the poor. He also said that the free market is already addressing the issue as grocery chains, such as Kroger, have announced they’ll phase out the use of plastic bags.

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