Senate Republicans are fuming after not only watching their cohorts pass the bill that would enact a state-wide ban on plastic shopping bags, but they also shot down an attempt to defray most costs to consumers.

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale-Bellingham) introduced a bill that would have done away with the 8-cent charge passed by Senate Democrats for each paper bag. That was struck down. Ercksen has led the fight on this, doing everything he can to persuade "moderate" Democrats this was not a wise decision at this time.

Ericksen joined 14 other Republicans in voting against the ban. Ericksen and his cohorts say it's a "double-whammy" on consumers. Not only will they face higher costs in having to provide some sort of shopping bag, if they choose paper it's even more. Granted, it's "only" 8 cents, but it's as much the principle of the thing (acccording to its language). Here's a synopsis of the plastic bag ban bill (from Senator Ericksen):

Prohibits a retailer from providing a customer a single use plastic bag, a paper or reusable plastic bag that does not meet recycled content requirements.

  • Requires a retailer to collect a pass-through charge of at least $0.08 for each recycled content paper or plastic bag provided.
  • Preempts local carryout bag ordinances.
  • Specifies recycled content requirements for paper and plastic bags.

Now that the bill has passed the Senate, it is virtually guaranteed to pass the Democratic controlled House. While the Senate majority for Dems is only 1 vote, they have a wider majority in the House.

The ban on plastic bags would go into effect January 1, 2020.

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