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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: May 14, 2015 03:08 PM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting a Plastic Bag Ban, Tax, Fee or Surcharge in this Commonwealth and Establishing a Plastic Bag Recycling Advisory Board – Two Bill Package
In the near future, I will be introducing a two-bill package to prohibit the imposition of a ban, tax, surcharge or fee on a plastic bag supplied by a retail establishment to a purchaser of consumer goods at the point of sale, and to establish a plastic bag recycling advisory board.

Many of you are aware of states and cities around the country that have implemented bans and taxes on plastic bags to mitigate their waste and environmental impact. There have also been several attempts over the years to levy similar fees and taxes in Pennsylvania. My legislation would prohibit municipalities, state government agencies and retail establishments from charging consumers for plastic bags at the point of sale.

When confronted with reports of plastic bag pollution in this country, a few states and cities responded with bans, taxes and fees in an attempt to discourage the use and production of these bags. Unfortunately, these policies ended up costing the poor more, hurting retail businesses and quelling the efforts of companies in the waste industry that have been providing exceptional plastic bag recycling programs across the country.

Several of my constituents have contacted me to support measures that promote plastic bag recycling versus taxing and banning. Numerous grocery stores already accept used plastic bags from their customers. While conducting research on this issue, I discovered that a leading manufacturer of plastic retail bags in Pennsylvania is producing new retail bags made from recycled materials. There are active efforts by consumers, retail establishments and plastic bag manufacturers to reduce consumer’s environmental impact. I believe such efforts need to be acknowledged instead of levying additional fees on our residents when we have the option of encouraging recycling.

With this in mind, my legislation also establishes a plastic bag recycling advisory board composed of eight individuals including representatives of the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, retail establishments, waste industries, plastic bag manufacturers and environmental advocates. The board would submit a report to the General Assembly after consulting with national, state and local organizations, agencies and researchers to examine plastic bag pollution, production, disposal, and the levels of plastic bag waste management in this Commonwealth. My legislation would ensure effective cooperation and communication between the plastic bag recycling industry, governmental agencies and academic, environmental and research communities.

Please join me by cosponsoring this new and much needed approach to addressing plastic bag recycling in Pennsylvania. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact Lynette Perkins via e-mail at LMPerkins@pahouse.net or via phone at 717-772-2283.

Document #1

Introduced as HB1280

Description: Amending Act 2 of 1971, also known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971, to prohibit the imposition of a ban, fee, surcharge or tax on the provision of plastic bags at the point of sale of consumer goods in this Commonwealth.
  View Attachment

Document #2

Introduced as HB1281

Description: A freestanding act known as the “Plastic Bag Recycling Advisory Board Act” to establish an advisory board that would examine plastic bag pollution, production, disposal, and the levels of plastic bag waste management in this Commonwealth.
  View Attachment