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PA Governor Vetoes Bill Preventing Local Plastic Bag Bans

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would have prohibited bans, fees, surcharges, or taxes on recyclable plastic bags. HB 1071 was passed by both the state House and Senate on June 19, 2017.

In vetoing the bill on June 30, Governor Wolf stated that the bill thwarts local governments from complying with their obligation under Article 1, Section 27 of the state’s constitution, to protect the environmental resources in their communities. In response to the veto, Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), who sponsored the bill, explained that the bill “aimed to protect Pennsylvania jobs and encourage promotion of plastic bag recycling programs.”

A number of states—including Michigan, Arizona, and New York—have passed laws that prevent local plastic bag bans or taxes. (See articles, New Michigan Law Prevents Local Jurisdictions from Banning Plastic Bags and States Move to Enact Laws to Prevent Local Plastic Bag Bans and Taxes.) Many of these laws were enacted in response to the numerous plastic bag bans and taxes imposed by local jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, Chicago, and the District of Columbia. The only state that has banned plastic bags is California (see the article, California Passes the First State-Wide Plastic Bag Ban).