Bill would prevent Alabama cities from banning plastic bags
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama would prohibit cities and counties from banning plastic grocery bags and other single-use containers, under a bill advanced Tuesday by a legislative committee.
The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee voted 9-2 to send the bill to the Senate floor.
The bill by Republican Sen. Steve Livingston of Scottsboro would prohibit local governments from banning the use of plastic bags and other single-use bags and containers. It would also prohibit local governments from charging a fee for their use.
Livingston told the committee that it would maintain a uniform policy across the state.
“It simply bans local municipalities and county governments from banning plastic bags or Styrofoam cups and things like that,” Livingston told the committee. “It keeps it in the state arena.”
A number of states have considered measures to reduce the prevalence of plastic bags at grocery stores and shops. Others are considering legislation like the Alabama bill that would prevent action by local communities.
People on both sides of the legislation said they knew of no Alabama city or county that has proposed banning plastic bags or similar containers.
A conservation group said such decisions should be local.
“We think this is something that should be decided by Alabamians in their local communities,” Tammy Herrington, executive director of Conservation Alabama.
Herrington said this was not a “constituent-led” bill but instead was “cut and paste” legislation pushed by an outside group.
The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the Alabama legislation is nearly identical to model legislation pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 95 bills have been introduced across the country this year related to plastic bags. Most would ban or place a fee on plastic bags. Others would prevent local governments from taking action.