Michigan Bans Local Governments From Banning Plastic Bags

Image courtesy of Taber Andrew Bain

While states like Hawaii and California have enacted bans on plastic bags, Michigan is going the exact opposite route, passing a law that bans local governments from banning plastic bags or putting fees on disposable containers.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed the bill into law on Wednesday, acting in place of Gov. Rick Snyder who is out of state spending time with his family, MLive.com reports.

The bill passed the House 62-46 and the Senate by 25-12, despite opposition from lawmakers like Rep. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor.

“This is a bill that attacks local control,” Irwin said in arguments on the House floor.

Right off the bat, the law will affect Washtenaw County — home to Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and the University of Michigan — which planned to start enforcing a $0.10 charge on paper and plastic grocery bags in 2017.

The Michigan Restaurant Association is pleased as punch, as the bill prevents chain restaurants and other retailers from having to comply with various local container laws, the group’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Robert O’Meara, said.

“With many of our members owning and operating locations across the state, preventing a patchwork approach of additional regulations is imperative to avoid added complexities as it related to day-to-day business operations,” he said in a statement [PDF].

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