Wis. bill prohibiting cities from enacting plastic bag bans poised for Senate debate

A bill that would ban local bans on plastic bags and other “auxiliary containers” appears poised for passage during the state Senate’s last floor day, slated for March 15.

Sen. Roger Roth, R-Appleton, the bill’s co-sponsor, said he expects the Committee on Elections and Local Government, will approve the Senate version of the bill this week.

The Assembly passed the legislation Feb. 16 on a party-line 63-35 vote.

“Banning these everyday products, whether it is the sleeve for your morning coffee, the take-out container you bring home after a dinner out or the bag you bring your groceries home in only serves to hurt consumers,” Roth told Wisconsin Watchdog.

He and the bill’s Assembly sponsor Mike Rohrkaste, R-Neenah, say such bans popping up across the country would also hurt Wisconsin’s economy, particularly the packaging industry.

Rohrkaste said he can speak from first-hand experience as a former executive with packager Menasha Corp. He said the patchwork of different municipal laws would drive up production costs, ultimately hitting the consumer.

“We provided packaging to a lot of consumer goods companies. If we would have been required to do different packaging in one part of the state compared to another, that would have increased costs,” the lawmaker said. “Is that the right thing to do, particularly when these products can be recycled?”

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