Touting the potential for disposable plastic bags to help prevent coronavirus spread in grocery stores, the heavily Republican Ohio Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit local plastic bag bans for 12 months.
The party line 23-to-9 vote for House Bill 242 split between Republicans voting yes, saying that store keepers need flexibility to fight the virus; and Democrats voting no, saying that local governments should keep the power to enact and enforce rules that prevent plastic pollution.
The bill now heads back to the House, where that Republican supermajority passed a more stringent version of the bill in December that would permanently prohibit cities from enacting plastic bag bans. House leadership didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it would adopt the 12-month limit in the amended bill.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) initially indicated that he didn’t favor the policy.
But on Wednesday his spokesman, Dan Tierney, said in an email that the proposal’s language “has changed extensively” and the administration “will continue to work with the General Assembly on the issue.”
A plastic bag ban in Cleveland is scheduled to take effect in July.
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