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Lawsuit Challenges Arizona’s Prohibition on Plastic Bag Bans

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Tempe Councilwoman Lauren Kuby is suing the state over a law that prevents towns and cities from banning plastic bags. The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest filed the suit on Kuby’s behalf, and says legislators violated the Arizona Constitution by passing the law. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Kuby says Senate Bill 1241 violates a state provision that gives charter cities authority over local matters. The Flagstaff and Tempe city councils were considering plastic-bag bans, or usage fees, last spring when the bill became law.

SB 1241 also prevents local governments from forcing businesses to report energy use as part of local efficiency programs. Kuby says that’s an unrelated issue and should be addressed in separate legislation.

Proponents of bag bans say single-use plastic bags are a source of pollution, and many end up in landfills and waterways. But those who oppose bag-bans and fees, say it takes away consumer choice and hurts businesses.

Bisbee remains the only city in Arizona to ban plastic bags. Dozens of other U.S. cities and municipalities have imposed fees or prohibited their use. 

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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