AUSTIN, TX., March 5, 2013 -- Texas legislator Rep. Drew Springer has filed a bill in the Texas House titled, 'The Shopping Bag Freedom Act'. Springer filed House Bill 2416 in response to the Texas City of Austin's plastic bag ban that went into effect on March 1st. Ironically, Austin is the state capitol of Texas.
Springer's bill, if passed, would:
- Make it the right of any business to provide any kind of bag, package or other container made of any material to a customer at the point of sale
- Make invalid any prior local legislation purporting to prohibit any type bag, package or container made of any material
The bill would make Austin's Single-Use Bag Ordinance invalid and could not be enforced.
Here is Rep. Springer's press release announcing the bill. In this press release, Springer quotes a study by Home Food Safety Program. Home Food Safety Program simple published a press release about washing reusable bags. Nothing is indicated about when or to whom the survey was administered. However, the press release does give excellent tips on keeping your reusable bag clean and safe.
The Shopping Bag Freedom Act press release:
Today, Rep. Drew Springer (Muenster) filed HB 2416 'The Shopping Bag Freedom Act' to give retailers and consumers the freedom to give and receive plastic and paper bags across the state and stop the overreach of big government.
As of March 1st, businesses in the City of Austin will no longer be able to distribute single-use bags to any of their customers. This means visitors to the Capitol city will soon have to bring reusable bags with them if they intend to make purchases on their trip.
At a time of economic recession and with food prices at an all-time high, this hidden social-tax on the poor will cause many to have to choose between necessary items such as milk and bread or having a reusable bag to carry their groceries.
"This act is just the latest example of government elites trying to step between the business and consumer in an attempt to push forward a misguided nanny-state agenda," said Springer. "It is all for show, plastic bags make up just .6% of Austin's litter and in San Francisco, litter from bags actually increased after enacting their ban."
There are also health concerns associated with the use of reusable bags. A study by Home Food Safety Program found that only 15% of Americans wash their reusable bags, a problem that has led to spikes in E.Coli poisoning in places such as San Francisco and Washington D.C.
"They can't expect everyone will wash their bags regularly," said Springer. "This policy puts uninformed populations at risk of serious illness and even death. Even if bag hygiene was realistic, why mandate people to waste more water on laundry in a time of severe drought in the region and state?"
This initiative will cause the city to use another ½ billion gallons of water per year if people properly wash their bags after use. Not only is this bad for conservation efforts but it will serve as yet another monthly expense for all citizens of Austin.
This type of government overreach must be stopped here and now. If a municipality can ban bags, what is to say they won't mandate how large a soda can be or how much salt one can put on their food.
If you have any questions about this legislation, please feel free to contact his Capitol office by phone (512) 463- 0526 or by email Drew.Springer@house.state.tx.us at any time for more information.
Cover photo: Texas State Capitol Building. Author: Daniel Mayer. Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)