Baltimore City is looking to be next next jurisdiction in Maryland to pass a ban on plastic bags (following Westminster, Chestertown and Takoma Park).

Council Bill 19-0401 would make this a reality. This is not the first attempt for Baltimore City…this is the ninth time the council has tried to pass some form of a plastic bag ban.

This plastic bag ban has some other interesting stuff in it:

Other bags, such as paper bags and compostable bags, will be subject to a checkout bag surcharge of 5 cents. The surcharge would be imposed in the store, at pickup or upon delivery. Retailers would keep 1 cents of the fee to help pay for the additional paper bag cost, and 4 cents would go to the city to purchase and distribute free reusable bags for residents.

and

Any person who violates any provision of this subtitle or of a rule or regulation adopted under this subtitle is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to a fine of not more than $ 1,000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months or to both fine and imprisonment for each offense.

For me…this is a bad bill that should not be passed. I am all for a plastic bag ban (in Baltimore City and/or all of Howard County) but the extra stuff in this bill is bad. The tax on other bags is a revenue generating fee for the city and for local businesses. Both the city and businesses will receive a lot of money from the shoppers in the city. It is a good way to get businesses in Baltimore City behind this bill (they will get 20% of this tax into their bottom line)…while punishing shoppers for not bringing reusable bags every time they leave the house to shop and accepting a bag from stores at checkout.

The potential for imprisonment for violating this bill is ridiculous. Seriously Baltimore City wants to put people in jail over this issue. Come on…be better than this!!! On attempt number nine you decide to add this to the bill…really?

I was very excited for this bill…and then learned more about it…now I am just totally bummed out that it was introduced at all. I fear that elected officials will see this bad bill and use it not to move forward with a plastic bag ban…and move forward with a bag tax. My hope is that Howard County follows the example set in Westminster!

Read other news sources to learn more:

Plastic bag ban proposed in Baltimore City

Baltimore City Council Introduces Plastic Bag Ban Bill

New plastic bag ban in Baltimore to consist of surprising consequences

Scott E

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