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Kevin Rader files bill to ban plastic carryout bags, single-use straws

Rader pushed for the bans last year, though his legislation didn’t advance.

Sen. Kevin Rader is bringing back legislation that would seek to ban the use of plastic bags and single-use plastic straws.

The measure (SB 40) blocks grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants from giving customers a plastic carryout bag.

The bill also bars restaurants from giving or selling a single-use plastic straw to customers, except by request from individuals who require a plastic straw due to a disability or medical condition.

Democratic lawmakers have tried for years to enact similar bans. Though Rader pushed for the bans last year, his legislation didn’t advance through a single committee.

Instead, a bill preventing local government from approving a plastic straw made it all the way to the Governor’s desk. That measure would’ve blocked action from local governments for five years while the need for those bans was studied.

Still, DeSantis ultimately vetoed the measure.

Disability advocates such as Olivia Babis have argued against banning plastic straws, arguing paper straws can collapse and even create a choking hazard. Babis supported the 2019 preemption measure.

“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.”

She argued the burden should not be shifted onto those with disabilities to bring their own straws or request one from workers.

Rader’s measure would provide a fine of up to $500 for a first violation. That penalty could increase to $1,000 for future violations.

If approved, the law would kick in on July 1, 2020.

Written By

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 ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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