Could plastic bag ban be lifted? Texas Supreme Court hears case

Could plastic bag ban be lifted? Texas Supreme Court hears case”

If the state Supreme Court rules against the ban, it could have statewide implications for cities like Austin and Port Aransas, which already have plastic bag ban in place, as well as any other Texas cities considering a similar ordinance.

The association argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday that existing state law on solid waste disposal supersedes the local ordinance created to prevent litter.

The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments from attorneys on both sides of the plastic bag ban.

The arguments made Thursday mirrored those in lower courts, where the case was originally decided in favor of Laredo before an appeals court overturned the verdict by a 2-1 margin.

On one side are environmentalists, wildlife advocates and city officials who say bag bans are essential to managing litter, protecting animals, saving cleanup costs and limiting damage to sewers and drains that get clogged by wind-blown plastic bags.

That ruling essentially said the city did not have the authority to regulate garbage and solid waste. The city then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. "They didn't want that to be a tool for cities to use", Phillips said.

Cities, Keller said, can not override limits established by the Legislature, and state law clearly pre-empts local ordinances that seek to manage solid waste by regulating bags and other containers.

The merchants also had the support of state Solicitor General Scott Keller, who argued for about five minutes. Paxton said in a June statement that cities with the bans were failing to "respect the rule of law".

Justice Jeff Boyd questioned whether a city could address a solid waste problem by banning plastic shopping bags not yet considered trash under the city's definition.

"In the ordinance, never anywhere in the drafts there was anything about solid waste management", Cortez said.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

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