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Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.

These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.

Each week The Sentinel will highlight one of the bills that has not received widespread attention.

About the bill

In 2014, California became the first state to ban the use of nonreusable plastic bags at large retailers and imposed a tax on certain reusable plastic bags, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Several other municipalities have bans or taxes on plastic bags including Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, D.C., according to the NCSL.

The goal of these measures is to cut down on waste by offering incentives for using recyclable and reusable materials.

However, according to Rep. Frank Farray, these bills have had little impact on reducing waste and may create undue burdens on shoppers and retailers.

In a co-sponsorship letter Farray said that is why he has introduced a bill that would prevent local municipalities from “imposing a ban, fee, surcharge or tax on recyclable plastic bags at the point of sale.

“This legislation will in no way prevent retailers from charging for plastic bags,” he said in the letter.

Farray wrote that there are 14 manufactures in Pennsylvania and that 1,500 residents are employed in jobs reliant on the plastic bag recycling and manufacturing industries.

House Bill 1071 passed the state House with a vote of 102 to 87 Tuesday.

The vote fell largely along partisan lines.

All but 16 Republicans voted for the bill, while all but six Democrats voted against it.

All Cumberland County representatives voted in favor of the measure.

Farray’s bill will now move to the Senate.


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