Yesterday, the New York Assembly passed legislation to effectively block New York City's proposed new fee on single-use paper and plastic bags. The State Senate passed the bill as well on Monday. Now, the bill is going to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his consideration.
The legislation the state Assembly and Senate sent to Cuomo puts a halt on the proposed fee bill by implementing "a moratorium on the adoption and/or implementation of any local law or ordinance, or any rule or regulation, by a city with a population of one million or more, related to charging a fee for carryout merchandise bags ('carryout bags') or a fee of similar effect," according to Patch.
Brooklyn State Senator Simcha Felder said in a statement that she and her fellow opponents of the fee refuse to "allow New Yorkers to be over-fined, over-ticketed and over-taxed."
On the other side of the issue, Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander and Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin released a statement yesterday voicing their disappointment in Albany lawmakers' actions.
"We are disappointed with the Assembly decision to ignore the unified voice of New York's environmental, climate justice and neighborhood groups—at the very moment the federal government is rolling back environmental protections," it said, according to Patch. "We appeal to Governor Cuomo to help us reach a compromise that would allow New York City to try out this effective, common-sense strategy for dealing with the 10 billion plastic bags that pollute our trees, oceans and landfills every year."
While Lander told Patch that the bill's opponents don't care about finding a solution to the tens of thousands of single-use bags that end up in landfills, Felder said that she would prefer the city incentivize using reusable bags with a five cent reward, for example, rather than de-incentivize a practice by use of a fee.
For now, the fate of the city's bag fee rests on Gov. Cuomo's desk.