After seemingly 'speeding' through the State Senate, a bill that would enact a statewide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags is creeping through the House.

However, it did pass another significant hurdle this week. Senate Bill (SB) 5323 would create a statewide ban, it would expand upon the 27 such bans that already exist in West Side cities, including Seattle.

The House companion version was approved by the House Appropriations Committee, and will now head to the House floor for debate and possible vote. Although no date has been set for that yet, it's likely to pass due to the Democratic majority in the House. Previously, the Republicans had a majority in the Senate, but due to several retirements and an election upset on the West side, the Democrats have a slim margin.

That is why this session, several agendas and bills that were rejected in previous years are now moving through and either have, or will potentially become law. They include the plastic bag ban, carbon gas taxes, and a possible state income tax. Previously these Democrat sponsored House bills were rejected in the Senate but many of them now appear likely they will pass.

If the plastic bag ban does pass, it would be signed by Gov. Inslee into law. The bill would charge an $.8 cent tax per bag if shoppers choose brown paper, and would disallow people to bring their own plastic bags to the store. If they do so, the $.8 charge would still apply, and they could face a misdemeanor (non-criminal) charge of up to $250.  The only alternative to avoiding the tax could be using canvas or nylon bags, the ones you are increasingly seeing being offered in grocery stores.

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