It formally has not been passed or approved. But after a State House vote Saturday, it appears to be coming.

The Washington State House approved a bill that would ban the use of what are referred to as "single use plastic bags", in other words, your typical two-handled plastic grocery store bag.  The bill is now being sent to the State Senate to approve changes made from their version of the bill, which already passed.

Opponents say charging consumers $.8 cents per bag constitutes another tax, and an additional sales tax if they need more than one  bag is expensive and will infuriate voters.  Also, health experts debate the safety of reusable canvas-type bags, which they say are a 'petri dish' for bacteria from tiny parts of vegetables and fruit that flake off plus other debris.

Supporters say it will clean up the environment and supposedly add more economic life to timber and paper mill communities by increasing the demand for paper bags.

The vote in the House was 67-29 in favor, meaning a number of GOP Reps voted for it. According to the Spokesman Review Newspaper online, one GOP Rep, Mary Dye of Pomeroy, spoke strongly in favor of the plan, saying:

   “We really struggle to keep our little mill towns open, This breathes new life and opportunity into them.”

There has not been any readily available data released on what positive impacts the plastic bag ban would have on the Washington state paper mill and timber industry.

As for the impact on lower income families, there would apparently be provisions in the legislation that the paper bag charges would not apply to those who are dependent upon public assistance (WIC, SNAP etc.) leaving middle to upper income citizens to foot the bill for the paper bags.

If this bill passes, it would go into effect January 1st, 2021.

For a bit more information on this bill, click on the button below.

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