Georgia Bag Bill
Last week, a bill was proposed in the state Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commission that would prevent any county from enacting any type of legislation on plastic bags, cups, Styrofoam, boxes, or carryout containers. The bill is incredibly short and digestible but we feel that it would set our state back years in terms of sustainable waste management. We also feel that the wording of the bill could encompass our mandatory recycling laws and jeopardize our county’s goals of reducing our waste by 75% by 2020.
An incredibly similar bill was proposed in Missouri in the same time frame. It isn’t farfetched to believe that an outside lobbyist groups like the American Progressive Bag Alliance or ALEC are trying to sway our environmental future at the state level. For more insight on the relationship of big lobbyist on State Legislatures, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight and these articles (NYT, Alternet) cover the issues well. Big money lobbyist groups are seeking to undermine local actions.
Yesterday, I met the two amazing kids (age 13 and 14) who founded the nonprofit One More Generation as a way to advocate for plastic waste reduction and animal conservation. They said that two weeks ago they spoke at the Tybee Mayor & Commission meeting about a plastic bag ordinance and a representative from the plastics industry spoke after them. He essentially said that “Tybee Island only has 3000 member, and we are prepared to outspend you.”
WHAT DO WE DO?
Please take a moment and email our state representatives to show that you think that issues of a community should stay in a county. The bill has already passed through the State Senate so we must act on the House. Feel free to use & amend this email template to send a message to the State House Consumer Affairs Committee.
On Monday, March 2nd, members of Bag the Bag and Athens For Everyone will be carpooling to speak at the the state capitol. If you are available or need more information check out the Facebook event or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GA Generall Assembly: Tracking SB 139/GB 144
Online Athens "Bill would ban Athens, other cities from banning plastic bags"
Environment Georgia "Plastic bags everywhere bill passes Georgia Senate"
Connect Savannah "Tybee plastic bag ban proposal attracts off-island lobbyists"
Last Week Tonight "State Legislatures and ALEC"