In advance of the public meeting on the 26th…I reached out to all elected members from District 13 to find out where they stand on the Howard County Bag Tax Bill (better know as the “Authority to Impose Fees for Use of Disposable Bags”, Ho. Co. 4–19). More about HoCo 4-19:

FOR the purpose of authorizing Howard County to impose, by law, a fee on certain retail establishments for the use of disposable bags as part of a retail sale of products; limiting the amount of a certain fee; defining certain terms; and generally relating to the authority for Howard County to impose a fee for the use of disposable bags.

Here are the responses I have received:

Maryland State Senate District 13: Guy Guzzone:

I’m keeping an open mind.  I do believe the legislature needs to do something.  I have not had the chance to put much time into researching this yet but my gut leans more to a statewide ban.  I do recognize however the value of local jurisdictions taking the lead on issues as Howard County did on the indoor smoking ban when I was on the County Council. That helped to lead to the current statewide law.  That being said,  I will need to put more time into the issue before I come to any firm conclusions.

Maryland State Delegate District 13: Vanessa Atterbeary:

I am open to hearing both sides of this issue before reaching a decision on a plastic bag ban in Howard County.  Since I have been in office, there has been proposed legislation for a statewide ban; and, I am sure the legislation will be brought forth again.  I have not been involved in the statewide effort and; therefore,  I need to become more informed on the issue.  I am looking forward to hearing from all stakeholders prior to reaching any conclusions.  

Maryland State Delegate District 13: Shane Pendergrass:

I try to keep an open mind on issues before us, so that is what I will be doing on the issue of plastic bags. Yes, of course there are issues on which I have a strong opinion. This is not one of those issues. 

Maryland State Delegate District 13: Jen Terrasa:

I am concerned about the impact that plastic bags have on our environment, but I also think it is important to make sure that whatever we do to discourage the use of plastic bags does not cause a hardship for people with limited means. When I looked into putting in legislation to create a bag tax as a councilmember, I considered ways to reduce this hardship. I don’t know yet if this specific legislation is the right way to address this problem though. I’m especially interested to know whether this concern will be addressed. I look forward to hearing more about the bill and discussing it further with my colleagues. I’m also interested to hear the testimony this evening.

I reached out to everyone listed above on November 23rd (Friday) via email and on Facebook Messenger. I also sent a follow up emails on November 24th (Saturday). I was excited that every elected member in my district replied to me for this article…that is not the case in all districts (as you will see soon).

One of the things I am hoping to do this next year is to reach out to our State Senators, State Delegates, County Executive, Council Council members and Board of Education officials for comments in some of the stories I write for the blog. My hope is to provide information to the readers directly from our elected officials dealing with issues in our community or on legislation I am covering this year. I hope I can count on those elected officials to provide comments from time to time. I look forward to seeing how this works and how much feedback I actually will receive. As always I will be following all social media accounts and when there are public statements I can use that are relevant to a story…I will be sure to grab those statements as well.

Here is a full list of proposed legislation that will be discussed on the 26th:  Howard County Public Notice For Hearing on Local Bills (UPDATE 11/20/18)

Here are my previous articles on the Bag Tax providing data from other local areas (MoCo and DC), comments from Howard County Council Elect members and my own personal thoughts about a potential Bag Tax coming to Howard County:

Stay tuned…I will keep this as a top priority for the blog as this moves forward…or until it goes away.

Scott E

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