Brownsville repeals plastic bag ordinance

July 31, 2018

Several weeks after receiving a letter from the Texas Attorney General’s Office that Brownsville’s plastic bag ordinance was unenforceable, city commissioners voted Monday to repeal the ordinance.

“Let me remind everyone that our ordinance under Ken Paxton, we had done away with the dollar fee previously and there (were) a lot of things we were able to get under this ordinance; projects such as sanitation trucks, reusable bags, street sweepers,” Assistant City Manager Arturo Rodriguez said during Monday’s City Commission meeting.

From 2011 to 2017, Brownsville generated more than $4 million in plastic bag fees.

Aside from the projects Rodriguez mentioned, revenue from the plastic bag fees allowed the city to fund other items, such as a trail master plan, curbside recycling, landfill compactor and duck pond.

Brownsville was the first city in Texas to place a bag ordinance into the municipal code. The ordinance took effect in 2010.

Brownsville commissioners received the letter from the Attorney General’s Office on July 2. In addition to Brownsville, South Padre Island and nine other cities with bag ordinances received letters from Paxton stating that those communities are not allowed to “prohibit, restrict, for solid waste management purposes, the sale or use of a container or package in a manner not authorized by state law.”

The Attorney General’s letter was sent to the 11 cities after the Texas Supreme Court issued a ruling in June that appeared to negate plastic-bag ordinances around the state.


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