General Assembly considering who can regulate plastic grocery bags

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) — A bill at the Statehouse would make it harder for local governments to regulate containers like plastic grocery bags or cups. The bill opponents call the “plastic bag ban ban bill” was introduced earlier this year.

Katie Zimmerman works with the Coastal Conservation League. They oppose the bill. She says it would no longer allow local governments, “to determine whether or not they can do things like implement a ban on plastic bags.”

It would allow only the General Assembly to regulate the bags and other similar containers. The CCL is against the bill because of where the plastics can end up, in the ocean and consumed by sea life.

The Isle of Palms now has a partial plastic bag ban in place.

Zimmerman says, “This bill seems to have been a way for the plastics industry to not have to fight all those individual bag bans at a local level. They wanted to just nip it in the bud at the state level.”
In the bill it states that without this legislation, grocers and other businesses could pay higher prices if local governments pass ordinances like plastic bag bans.

Rep. Joe Danning represents Berkeley County. He gave us a statement saying he is against the bill as it is a home rule issue. “Local governments have a right to make those decisions. We shouldn’t be interfering.”
He said he is also against the bill because of the plastic bags, saying, “They do do harm to the environment, especially along the beaches.”

The bill was on a subcommittee agenda Thursday, but extended discussion of an earlier item caused the plastics bill to not be discussed formally.

Zimmerman says that means the bill is likely dead this year. While they don’t believe the bill will pass the statehouse this year, officials with the CCL tell me they are prepared to fight it again next year.

RELATED: CLICK HERE TO READ THE TEXT OF THE BILL

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