Bill blocking local bans on plastic straws and sunscreen passes House
Plastic straws: The latest battleground for home rule defenders.

"Sometimes we need to step in, particularly when local government is putting our citizens at risk."

A measure which would block local governments from banning sunscreen and single-use plastic straws was approved Monday morning with a 71-40 vote in the Florida House.

The bill (HB 1299) was put forward by Rep. Spencer Roach and faced opposition from several members over concerns about pre-emption.

“I think we’re trying to take too much power from local government,” said Rep. Joe Geller, who voted against the bill.

“I think this bill interferes with Home Rule too much.”

Still, the bill’s supporters argue that local governments aren’t assessing the problems with these bans correctly.

On plastic straws, disability advocate Olivia Babis testified during committee hearings saying a ban can hurt vulnerable citizens.

“I don’t think pre-emption should be abused by the state,” Babis said

“But when we have vulnerable population whose health and safety is being put at risk, then that is a point when the state does need to intervene on behalf of that community.”

And on sunscreen, Rep. Ralph Massullo cited studies which show the benefits of sunscreen outweigh concerns about damage to coral reefs, which appears to be as yet unproven.

“Sunscreens save lives. They protect people,” Massullo said.

“Sometimes we need to step in, particularly when local government is putting our citizens at risk.”

In closing, Roach argued that the state is still free to ban single-use plastic straws or sunscreen, but that he’s pushing for uniformity.

“This is not a referendum on whether the state should regulate plastics, how the state should regulate cosmetics,” Roach said.

“What this is a referendum on is whether we need a uniform regulatory framework in the state of Florida which will serve to attract and protect capital in the state of Florida. That’s what this bill is about.”

A companion bill in the Senate (SB 588) has not received a vote.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • gary

    April 29, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    It’s about time things start making sense! Banning plastic in America when we are no a factor in the discussion of world contributors to it’s accumulation in the sea (2%) is just dumb!

    America is the cleanest nation on planet earth!

    • Beau

      May 1, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Coca-Cola to increase production of plastic bottles by over 3 billion this year from last years 18 billion bottles. Do the math on how much plastic this adds to the environment, it’s pretty clear to see that the politicians in support have their lips on big business sphincter and is dictating against the freedom of the locals to choose.

    • Trixy

      May 2, 2019 at 7:10 am

      Is this sarcasm? I’m genuinely confused by the audacity and genuine falseness every statement you just made. The US is responsible for over 100k metric TONNES of plastic in the ocean every year. The bill is being actively lobbied by Johnson & Johnson and Publix. Two companies that care whether or not people stop buying their sunscreen. The only thing this bill does is hurt the environment. This is also an extremely poorly researched article, the straw portion of bill was dropped as it passed through the house. The only thing this bill deals with is sunscreen, taking rights away from cities reliant on coral tourism. Do a cursory google search on coral and sunscreen, it is proven (including by multiple universities in the state of Florida) to cause coral death and degradation. A resource that is the barrier between us and an average yearly planetary temperature of 122 degrees.

      • gary

        May 11, 2019 at 1:16 am

        It matters not what mfg’s produce! What matters is the weather or not Americans dispose of it correctly fool!

Comments are closed.


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