Supreme Court of Texas to hear appeal of plastic bag ban

By Chandra Lye | Sep 13, 2017

AUSTIN – The Supreme Court of Texas has agreed to hear an appeal of a plastic bag ban application.

The appeal comes from the 4th District Court of Appeals regarding the city of Laredo who has been looking to ban single-use plastic bags in retail shops. It claimed the ban will protect wildlife and reduce waste.

Previously, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief siding with the Laredo’s Merchant’s Association, who claim the ban violates the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act. 

The brief, which was filed on June 15, stated that the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act “prevents a municipality from taxing or banning ‘the sale or use of a container or package’ for ‘solid waste management purposes.'”

It also claims the issue is one that is relevant to the entire state, not just to Laredo. 

“It’s about Texas, because waste management is a statewide issue,” the brief stated.

They also asserted that the Act was put into place so that the burden of waste management fell on municipalities rather than consumers. 

“The Legislature included requirements in the Act that prohibit local governments from passing the burdens of waste management to consumers, rather than employing serious efforts towards recycling, composting, source reduction programs and the like.”

It is not the first time that Paxton has weighed in on the ruling. In December 2016, he responded to the San Antonio Court of Appeals ruling in the case and asked the state Supreme Court to review it so the ruling could be made statewide.

“Cities across Texas are failing to respect the rule of law and unlawfully passing the burden of municipal solid waste management to residents and retailers through bag bans,” Paxton was quoted as saying in a release. “Municipalities do not get to violate Texas law merely because they don’t like it. We’re asking the Texas Supreme Court to uphold the law so that the ruling can be used to invalidate similar ordinances across Texas.”

There are currently similar bans in 10 other municipalities. The court’s ruling will impact these policies. 

The hearing will be on Jan. 11, 2018, and both sides have been given 20 minutes to present their case.

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