Pa. Senate Passes Bill That Would Keep Philly From Taxing Plastic Bags

The legislation now heads to the governor's desk.


A bill that would forbid regulations on plastic bag sales across the state will make its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk this week.

The Pa. Senate passed the legislation yesterday in a 28-21 vote. 

The bill would prevent municipalities like Philly from passing green-friendly policies aimed at reducing the harmful environmental effects of plastic bags (which often become litter caught in tree branches or waterways and are slow to decompose). Cities like Washington, D.C., Chicago, Seattle and Austin have passed such regulations.

Philadelphia City Council has considered imposing a plastic bag tax, which could generate substantial revenue and help the city meet its Zero Waste goal. In April, City Council members denounced the anti-regulation legislation in a letter sent to the Pa. House, which passed the bill that month.

Supporters of the bill say regulations on plastic bag sales could inhibit the state’s 14 manufacturing facilities and the recycling industry.

“This proposal would allow sustainable recycling and reuse practices while also supporting good, family-sustaining jobs,” Rep. Frank Farry, the legislation’s prime sponsor, wrote in the bill’s memo.

Wolf has previously said that he opposes the bill, though it’s not clear whether or not he plans to veto the legislation.

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