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.
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.
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.