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Hearing on changes to bag ban today

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 by Jo Clifton

The Texas House of Representatives Committee on Urban Affairs will hold a hearing today on HB 3482 by Austin Rep. Gina Hinojosa. The brief bill seeks to reaffirm that local governments can pass ordinances for the purpose of protecting quality of life, wildlife and local businesses, such as ranching, beach tourism and recycling. Members of the environmental community will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. to talk about their support for local single-use bag ordinances. Robin Schneider of Texas Campaign for the Environment explained that Hinojosa’s legislation was prompted by a court case, Laredo Merchants Association v. City of Laredo. In that case, the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio ruled that Laredo’s ban on single-use plastic bags violated state law because current law prevents municipalities from enacting bag and container ordinances for solid waste management. The case is currently on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, but that court is not expected to decide whether to take the case until the Legislature has adjourned. Two fifth-graders from Houston will speak about how they gathered 2,000 signatures to present to the mayor of Houston asking for a plastic bag ban. In addition, costumed goat, cow and turtle activists will represent livestock and wildlife that can perish from plastic bag ingestion. Also expected are Kerry Getter, CEO of Balcones Resources in Austin, and Gil Saenz, a sheep rancher from Freer, Texas. The hearing is expected upon adjournment of the House.

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