Dutchess County just became the next domino to fall in the fight against plastic bags. On Monday, December 3, county legislators voted in a near-unanimous, 23-1 vote to bar retailers from using plastic bags for customers’ purchases.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro will hold a public hearing on the proposed law on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Authored by Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver and his Republican colleague, Majority Leader Don Sagliano, the law was modeled after one Ulster County signed in October. However, the two counties differ in one aspect: the addition of a fee on the use of paper bags.
A number of amendments to the bill were proposed that included either a 5-cent or 10-cent fee, with exemption for those receiving government assistance. Ultimately, the amendments were defeated, with Republicans saying the exemption would amount to “corporate welfare,” in that people would pay the fee and stores would pocket it.
Also defeated were amendments that would require stores to promote the use of reusable bags and to provide free reusable bags for two weeks at the beginning of each year.
If signed by Molinaro, the ban will go into effect January 1, 2020.