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Michigan Bans a Ban of Bags

Out of college, my first job was politically canvassing for a grass roots organization which fought hard for environmental issues. I was thrown into the fire, fighting (okay, collecting money) for causes concerning local park’s services, different environmental programs and taxes, and, specifically, the ridding of plastic bag use across Long Island. That was my first day, actually, and as I went over my “rap,” which would eventually be repeated door to door to solicit donations for the my communities’ greater good, I thought to myself, I’m doing good work here. We’re better off without the plastic option. 

Long Island isn’t alone on this issue, either. States like Hawaii and California have also enacted bans on plastic bags as the awareness of their harm is growing vastly. Michigan, however, who have been on an environmental roll lately, are taking to the exact opposite. Recently, the state passed a law that actually bans local governments from banning plastic bags or putting fees on disposable containers…

MLive reports that 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.

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

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

The Consumerist reports that 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.

Robert O’Meara, The Michigan Restaurant Association’s VP of Government Affairs was quoted with saying that his organization is “pleased as punch, as the bill prevents chain restaurants and other retailers from having to comply with various local container laws.”

“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

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