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Ban on Plastic Bags Moves Closer to Reality in New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and fellow Democrats who control the Legislature have reached a deal to make New York the third state with a ban on single-use plastic grocery bags as they worked to finalize budget agreements, officials said Friday.

The ban would prohibit grocery stores from providing plastic bags for most purchases, something California has been doing since a statewide ban was approved in 2016. Hawaii has an effective statewide ban, with all its counties imposing their own restrictions.

Supporters of such bans say they keep plastic bags from entering the environment and causing damage to ecosystems and waterways.

“With this smart, multi-pronged action New York will be leading the way to protect our natural resources now and for future generations of New Yorkers,” Cuomo, who proposed a ban in his $175 billion budget proposal, said in a statement Friday.

New York’s ban wouldn’t take effect until next March. The plan also calls for allowing local governments the option to impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with 3 cents going to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and 2 cents kept by local governments.

Environmental conservation advocates had also been pushing for a statewide fee for paper bags as a way to encourage wider consumer use of reusable bags.

Nonetheless, Patrick McClellan, state policy director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, said his group was “thrilled” that the bag ban appears headed for passage.

“Plastic bags pollute our waterways and streets, and both plastic and paper bags contribute to the solid waste crisis and cost taxpayers money,” he said. “While the best policy would be a ban on plastic bags coupled with a statewide fee on other disposable bags, this agreement represents a tremendous step forward.”

Lawmakers are facing a Monday deadline on a budget agreement. Negotiations on other aspects of Cuomo’s proposed $175 billion spending plan are continuing Friday, with the Senate and Assembly expected to start passing budget bills Sunday ahead of the April 1 start of the state’s 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Lawmakers have also agreed on a measure that would close up to three yet-to-be-determined state prisons. Cuomo announced last month he wanted to reduce the number of facilities because of the state’s declining inmate population.

The budget will also contain a provision requiring employers to give workers three hours off to vote on election day.

Another provision set for the budget would impose congestion tolls to ease traffic in the busiest parts of Manhattan and fund transit improvements, but details are still being discussed.

Negotiations are also continuing on a proposal to tax luxury second homes in Manhattan worth more than $5 million. The option now being considered would impose a one-time tax paid when the properties are sold, Cuomo told reporters Friday.

Revenue from the tax would go to transit.

Other pending issues still being negotiated included criminal justice reform and public financing of political campaigns.

One of the other big issues of the year — the legalization of recreational marijuana — will not be included in the budget. Cuomo said Friday that lawmakers need more time to work out the details to regulation.


9 Responses

  1. Just asking: If you cant use plastic bags how am I supposed to get my groceries home. I don’t know for sure but I would assume in California when someone is going to a supermarket. They are literally going to the supermarket, usually by car. They can keep as many non-disposable in their car as they want or can put the items they buy in boxes. In NYC Many people walk to the grocery, bodega, or supermarket often on the way home from work. These stores aren’t always on your corner. Are people supposed to carry around who knows how many bags with them? or after a hard days work you’ll have to shlep home get your non-disposible bags and go back out to shop.
    Last week I made a birthday party for my son in his yeshiva. I put the 2 packages of cookies, 2 bags of chips cups and a bottle of soda into plastic bags. My son can carry two plastic bags and doesn’t have to worry about bringing them back home

  2. Good to see the administration in NY has its priorities right. NO to plastic bags but YES to perversion. As Mr. Cuomo said: “With this smart, multi-pronged action New York will be leading the way to protect our natural resources now and for future generations of New Yorkers,”, but don’t think that our natural resources means Daddies and Mummies, that is just old hat! Today what does NY have to be proud of, a two daddy family that doesn’t use plastic bags. There that is real progress for you.

  3. I have no idea whether the ban on plastic shopping bags is good, bad or indifferent. But why are so many people – e.g., ah yid – dumbstruck about how to live without plastic bags. Civilization did not have plastic bags for about 5728 years, and yet we survived. Life will go on. And those guys who think their black hats need shopping bags on them in the rain may learn that felt is acutally water-resistant.

  4. Stupid politicians. Can someone explain how plastic bags pollute the water?? Just throw it in the garbage that’s all. Now if the city puts the garbage into the water that’s somehow our problem. Sure makes a lot of sense

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