Bill seeks to reverse Austin bag ban

Joshua Fechter

Austin’s recent bag ban could face an early demise if the Texas Legislature approves a bill that would abolish it.

The bill, filed by freshman state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, would invalidate the bag ban that went into effect citywide last Friday by prohibiting local governments from preventing businesses from offering single-use bags to its customers.

In a statement released Tuesday, Springer said the ban would force citizens with lower incomes to choose between purchasing groceries or purchasing reusable bags to carry those groceries.

“This act is just the latest example of government elites trying to step between the business and consumer in an attempt to push forward a misguided nanny-state agenda,” Springer said. “It is all for show. Plastic bags make up just .6 percent of Austin’s litter, and in San Francisco, litter from bags actually increased after enacting their ban.”

The Austin City Council approved the ban in March 2012 to encourage retailers’ and customers’ use of reusable bags, but exempted bags for bulk items, produce, frozen foods, medicine, alcohol and to-go items at restaurants.