Don’t Californianize Texas, Lawmaker Says

     DALLAS (CN) – Bans on single-use paper and plastic bags in Austin and Dallas are “Californianizing” Texas, says a lawmaker who filed a bill to prohibit such bans.
     State Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, filed House Bill 1939 on Feb. 25. It would allow businesses to provide customers with bags or containers “made from any material” at the point of sale.
     “An ordinance or regulation adopted by a municipality purporting to restrict or prohibit a business from, require a business to charge a customer for, or tax or impose penalties on a business for providing to a customer at the point of sale a bag or other container made from any material is invalid and has no effect,” the bill states.
     Rinaldi said he filed the bill to repeal bans “like those enacted by Dallas and Austin, which erode consumer choice and the rights of business-owners.”
     “Gov. [Greg] Abbott warned that ‘Texas is being Californianized and you may not even be noticing it,” Rinaldi posted on his Facebook account. “It’s being done at the city level with bag bans, fracking bans, tree-cutting bans. We’re forming a patchwork quilt of bans and rules and regulations that is eroding the Texas model. I agree.”
     Austin’s total bag ban was enacted in March 2013 and resulted in a lawsuit by the Texas Retailers Association , which claimed it violated state law.
     Dallas’ partial ban was enacted in January. It imposes a 5-cent fee on consumers who want single-use paper or plastic bags. City officials said they wanted to promote a “culture of clean” through the law.
     “The city of Dallas desires to protect the natural environment, the economy, and the health of its residents,” the ordinance states. “The improper disposal of single-use carryout bags has a negative impact on the environment by contributing to unsightly ugliness on the streets, sidewalks, trees, bushes, vacant lots, city parks, waterways, reservoirs and shorelines that is detrimental to the quality of life of residents, the property values of homeowners, and the tourism industry.”
     The littering requires hundreds of volunteer hours to remove from trees, lots and roadways, city officials said.

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