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Ban Plastic Bags? Not So Fast, Says Ohio Lawmaker

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the country, will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
Rogelio V. Solis

Cuyahoga County, the city of Bexley in Central Ohio, and the village of Orange in Northeast Ohio have all voted to ban plastic bags at retailers. A state lawmaker is pushing a bill that would negate such bans by outlawing the fees imposed on violators.

State Rep. George Lang (R-West Chester) argues his bill isn’t about the environment, but about the many taxing jurisdictions in Ohio.

“We are just stopping the ability to tax," Lang said.

Lang said banning bans and their fees ensures what he calls “commerce uniformity for auxiliary containers,” so retailers, restaurants and manufacturers know what to expect statewide. He also argues it’ll stop the flow of people who have moved out or left Ohio.

“The data is so empirical that we are getting our asses kicked by other pro-business friendly states,” Lang says. “We’re the fifth most 'left' state in the nation.”

Lang said he received two legal opinions that banning local bans is not a violation of home rule, so he think it would be upheld as constitutional.

Supporters of plastic bag bans say the measures will reduce plastic litter in the environment.