Councilman Opel Jones made the following post on Facebook:

This week I was interviewed by WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore about Council Bill 64-2019. CB64-2019 will be introduced – Monday. November 4th during the County Council’s Legislative Session. Click the link below to hear more about CB64-2019 and its call to action.

To lend your support and voice to our legislative process, included are important dates so you can follow along. All meetings will be held at the George Howard Building, 3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043. CB64-2019 will be introduced at the Legislative Session on Monday, November 4th at 7 PM in the Banneker Room, testimony will be accepted at the regularly scheduled Public Hearing on Monday, November 18th at 7 PM in the Banneker Room, the Work Session will be on Friday, November 22nd at 10 AM in the C Vernon Gray Room if necessary, and the Legislative Session where the Council will have the first opportunity to vote on CB64-2019 will be Monday, December 2nd at 7 PM in the Banneker Room.

If you cannot attend the November 18th Public Hearing, but would still like to testify, please email councilmail@howardcountymd.gov.

Can’t attend but still want to follow along? You can stream us online here. http://cc.howardcountymd.gov/Online-Tools/Watch-Us.

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Here is the article with the video noted above: https://www.wbaltv.com/article/howard-county-council-members-want-to-place-fee-on-plastic-bags-to-protect-environment/29613233

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Both Council Members Jones and Rigby were interviewed in the video. I have great respect for both Council Members…but they are wrong (in my opinion) on this bill. Here are some items they did not mention in the interview:

Council Member Rigby notes the use of the fee (I still call it a tax) will be used on single use plastic education…to be specific…here is what the bill says on that today:

(II) MAKING GRANTS TO ENTITIES ENGAGED IN:
A. WATER QUALITY AND WATER POLLUTION EDUCATION;
B. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS THAT SUPPORT SCHOOL CURRICULUM;
C. STREAM CLEAN UPS; OR
D. ANTI-LITTERING EDUCATION; AND

Now did you see that not mentioned is that the fee / tax will also be used to pay staff that it will take to implement, administer and enforce this new program in the county? I am sure that will not be a significant part of this funding source at all (sarcasm).

Council member Jones says the following in the interview “…it is just a new way of life that we may have to start doing like other countries and other jurisdictions have done”.

Other jurisdictions…lets talk about them for a second. Specifically Montgomery County. If you look at the REAL data (not the stuff you will hear about in public testimony coming up soon from various special interest groups…but the actual reported data you can find online)…you absolutely do not see a significant decrease in the number of bags leaving stores year in and year out (also do you see what MoCo calls this…a TAX):

Is the goal to slow down plastic bags leaving stores…is the goal to make money for other purposes…or is the goal to make real reductions in the number of bags entering our area from stores? The data (real data…not public survey data) is clear…this tax will generate a lot of money for government and local businesses and do very little in making serious reductions in the number of bags leaving stores year in and year out.

Let me be clear…I am 100% in support of a plastic bag ban similar to what the city of Westminster passed. I am 100% against this tax on residents that appears to be more about making money than actually making significant reductions in the number of plastic bags leaving stores.

My hope at this point is that the other three council members see this for what it is…a way to generate money while not making a significant dent in reducing the number of bags leaving stores. If that does not work…we still have the County Executive that can veto it when it comes his way. At the end of all of this we will see where our local politicians are really at when it comes to “Making Howard County the most environmentally friendly jurisdiction in the state and region…”. Do they really look to achieve that goal or jump at the opportunity to bring in revenue at the expense of the residents in Howard County?

Have thoughts…let me know in the comments.

Scott E