Bill barring local governments like Lawrence from banning plastic bags clears committee, moves to Senate

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

The Kansas Statehouse in Topeka is pictured on Dec. 20, 2023.

A bill that would prohibit local governments from restricting or taxing an array of plastic items, including shopping bags, cleared a hurdle this week and now awaits a Senate vote.

The bill would target ordinances such as the one passed by Lawrence city leaders that bans single-use plastic bags beginning March 1.

The first attempt at a state law prohibiting such bans was vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly in 2022, but a similar bill introduced last year passed the Kansas House of Representatives by a 72-51 vote.

Lawmakers last week heard testimony on the bill, and on Monday, the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs moved the measure out of committee with a majority voice vote recommending approval. That committee is composed of seven Republicans and two Democrats.

The measure now proceeds to the full Senate for consideration.

Supporters of the bill have touted it as providing protection for consumers and businesses, while opponents have framed the measure as being environmentally detrimental and contrary to the Home Rule provision in the Kansas Constitution, which empowers local governments to determine local affairs.


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