Plastic bag ban advocates call for passage of statewide bill
Boston — With Dartmouth this week becoming the 80th municipality in Massachusetts to take action on reducing single-use plastic bags, advocates stepped up the call for passage of a statewide bill. The bill, originally sponsored by Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, and Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, received a favorable committee report earlier in the spring but, with only weeks left in the current legislative session, proponents are turning up the volume. “With 80 cities and towns having now taken action, representing over one-third of the state’s population, it’s simply common sense for our lawmakers to pick up the reins and enact a state law, ” said Emily Norton, director of the Massachusetts Sierra Club.
In addition to the cities and towns that have acted on bag bans, more than 200 local, state and New England regional organizations have endorsed the action. “Nothing we use for an average of 5 minutes should pollute our environment for hundreds of years,” said Janet Domenitz, executive director of MASSPIRG, one of the statewide organizations pushing for a ban. “The message is clear from the Berkshires to the Cape to the North Shore—people want to #banthebag.”
Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, and House chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture remains optimistic: “I am extremely pleased with the work the Environment Committee did on the statewide plastic bag ban legislation, especially by making it a much broader bill that covers a wide variety of stores. I think this is a good bill, a huge environmental win, and something that Massachusetts could be proud of.”
The legislative session is scheduled to end Tuesday, July 31, 2018. Bills that have not passed by then will be considered “dead” until the next session, which will begin Wednesday, January 2, 2019.