Locals may be blocked from taxing, banning plastic grocery bags in Ohio


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Ohio shoppers will continue to be offered plastic bags for their purchases without having to pay a fee, if a bill gaining traction in the Ohio General Assembly wins final approval.

The bill would block local jurisdictions from imposing bans or fees on single-use containers or bags — tactics used to change consumer behavior and reduce the use of throw-away plastic.

The legislation is backed by grocers and other retailers but opposed by environmental groups and local officials who say it is an infringement on Ohio’s home rule powers. The measure cleared the Ohio Senate this week on a vote of 23-9 but the House must still approve changes the Senate made to the bill.

RELATED: DeWine opposes state barring local bans on plastic bags

Although Gov. Mike DeWine expressed opposition to House Bill 242 in December, his spokesman said this week that the bill has been changed since then.

“We are reviewing the new proposal and will continue to work with the General Assembly on the issue,” said DeWine press secretary Dan Tierney.

Eight state have statewide bans on single-use plastic bags and several large cities such as Boston, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. have imposed bans or fees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Meanwhile 14 states have enacted pre-emption laws, similar to what Ohio is considering, NCSL reported.

The American Legislative Exchange Council proposed a model plastic bag ban pre-emption policy in 2015. ALEC is an organization of conservative state legislators and corporate interests.

Cincinnati-based Kroger announced in 2018 its plans to phase out single-use plastic bags in its stores by 2025.

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