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New York State Moves to Block Plastic Bag Fees

plastic bagsThe New York State Senate voted yesterday to block plastic bag fees, such as the 5-cent fee on disposal shopping bags approved last month by the New York City Council.

The bill (S7336), sponsored by Sen. Simcha Felder (D, Brooklyn), would prohibit taxes, fees or local charges on carry-out merchandise bags. Supporters say the bag fees place an economic burden on New York residents and businesses and say reusable bags have the potential for increased health risks due to cross-contamination of food.

The bill now moves to the state Assembly and would have to be signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to become law.

Also on June 7, the New York State Senate approved legislation that calls for stores of at least 10,000 square feet, or 5,000-square-foot stores that are part of a chain, to install plastic bag recycling bins, Plastics News reports.

New York City has had such a law on the books for year and it hasn’t done much to divert the billions of plastic bags that litter the streets or end up in landfills, environmentalists say.

Meanwhile California’s first-in-the-nation statewide plastic bag ban could be repealed in November when voters weigh in on the issue.

In October 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the statewide law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2015. It was suspended a month later when a measure to repeal the ban qualified for the ballot.

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