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Minnesota Legislature

‘Ban the Bag’ ordinances could be trashed

Local governments would be prohibited from banning or taxing paper or plastic bags, under a bill approved Tuesday by a House committee. Photo by Andrew VonBank
“Paper or plastic?”

You could be assured of hearing that question across the state, under a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia). HF1504 would prohibit local ordinances banning merchants’ use of plastic or other bags with a ban or imposing a fee on their use.

The bill would retroactively invalidate ordinances enacted earlier.

The House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee approved the bill, as amended, on a 10-7 party-line, roll-call vote.

The companion, SF1195, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria), awaits action by the Senate Local Government Committee.

A dozen testifiers offered their takes, pro and con.

Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon said his ordinance, adopted last year and set to take effect June 1, 2017, was the result of a year of study, prompted by constituents eager for the city to follow the lead of such places as Seattle and Hawaii.

But Jamie Pfuhl, president of the Minnesota Grocers Association, said, “Businesses cannot be the experimental grounds for cities’ whims.” 

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