Ban On Local Plastic Bag Bans Passes House On Mostly Party-Line Vote

Dec 12, 2019

Local communities wouldn’t be able to ban single use plastic bags under a bill the Ohio House has passed – mostly along party lines – and sent on to the Senate.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) supported the ban on bans of "auxiliary containers" such as plastic bags and other products, saying retailers need uniform rules.

“There should be consistency as far as your business is concerned," Householder said.

And what about the home rule provision of the Ohio constitution? “It's not a violation of home rule because the legislature’s doing it, you know. We created and that's all part of the program.”

Supporters of the ban said it's backed by business groups because it provides clarity for those operating statewide. The bill's main sponsor, Rep. George Lang, has said it’ll stop the flow of people who have moved out or left Ohio: “The data is so empirical that we are getting our asses kicked by other pro-business friendly states. We’re the fifth most 'left' state in the nation.”

Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) said concerns about a patchwork of regulations are real but this is not an issue for state lawmakers to decide.

“I think it oversteps our boundaries as a body and we should definitely let our local communities make this decision for themselves," Sykes said.

Opponents of the bill, mostly Democrats, have said they're concerned about Ohio's plastic waste disposal problem - citing millions of pounds of plastic floating in Lake Erie.

There's a similar bill in the Senate, but it's still in committee.

Three communities throughout the state have passed local bans on plastic bags.

Gov. Mike DeWine has said he thinks banning local bans would be a mistake, suggesting a possible veto.