SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would prohibit local governments from banning plastic bags was brought to back to life in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon after failing that morning.
In 2016, Park City became the first municipality in Utah to ban plastic bags at grocery stores in an effort to reduce litter in their community.
Sponsored by Sen. Gregg Buxton, R-Roy, SB218 has the effect of nullifying Park City's actions and pre-empting any other local governments from making similar ordinances in the future. The bill says "… a local government entity may not regulate, prohibit, or restrict the use, disposition, or sale of an auxiliary container (such as plastic bags); or impose a fee …"
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, backed the bill
"A few years ago there was a move by cities across the nation to enact their own minimum wage laws," said Stephenson. "We passed a law saying we're going to have one minimum wage law in the state of Uutah, and that's it, to make it easier for people to comply with the law. In a way this container regulation act does the same thing to say if we're going to have regulations about containers, it's going to be statewide so the citizens of this state don't have to wonder as they go from boundary to boundary."
But Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, disagreed:
"This is a bill that takes power out the hands of the people in your cities, your towns and your counties and it gives it over to a giant conglomeration of big corporations. ... It is against what we stand for, which is government at the smallest level is the best government."
The bill failed earlier in the morning by a vote of 13-10 but passed 16-12 in the afternoon. It now moves to the House for consideration.