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HB 54: Repealing Ban on Plastic Bag Bans – 2021

Summary: House Bill 54 would repeal a 2016 law that prohibited local cities or counties from implementing plastic bag bans

ICL's position: Support

Current Bill Status: House Committee (but likely Dead)

Issue Areas: Clean Water, Climate Change, Pollution

Official Legislative Site

In 2016, the Idaho Legislature passed a bill that prohibited cities and counties from limiting or banning the use of plastic bags, cups, or containers.

While no municipality actually restricted, or charged a fee for, the use of plastic bags at grocery stores, some legislators were concerned that we could start seeing these ordinances. The bill passed and was signed into law by Gov. Otter.

House Bill 54, reintroduced this year by House Minority Leader Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise), would repeal the 2016 bill and reestablish local decision-making over plastic bags. Because the bill was introduced again as a “personal bill” for the 4th year running, it’s unclear whether the bill will ever be scheduled for a hearing in the House Business Committee, chaired by Rep. Sage Dixon (R-Ponderay).

Americans dispose of more than 100 billion plastic bags a year. The litter and fossil fuel burden associated with these non-biodegradable products have led some states, cities and countries to implement bag bans.

There’s a lot of support for “local control” in the Idaho Legislature. Unfortunately, that support seems to wane when legislators disagree with decisions made at the local level.