Concern over single-use bags within city limits drew a lot of discussion Tuesday night at Santa Clarita City Hall but no action, as City Council members decided to “wait it out.”
After much talk, city councilmembers noted there was proposed legislation pending in Sacramento that could make such talk moot, so maybe it should wait until at least after this week, which coincides with the deadline for the current session in the state’s Legislature.
At issue for the City Council was the small fee that would be charged in order to discourage the use of paper bags, if a plastic bag were passed.
“It’s too much government,” Kellar said. “We’ve got our nose in everything. People say we’re not responsible with (plastic bags) — I beg to differ. I always re-use mine. We just can’t seem to legislate or do enough to our citizens.”
City council members discussed the potential for a ban back in 2010, but that, too, was put on hold while officials decided to wait and see what the constitutionality of such a ban was.
The state Supreme Court recently deemed such laws legal, so the City Council decided to take another look.
City Councilwoman Marsha McLean said she hated plastic bags, and just wanted the city to do more to discourage their usage.
“I would like to drive down the street once and not have a plastic bag stick to my car’s tailpipe and make that God-awful smell,” she said.
Members of City Council seemed to agree that while the bags were wasteful, no one really wanted to tax residents with an additional five or 10 cent charge per bag for their grocery shopping.
City attorney Joe Montes said if Santa Clarita wanted to pass a plastic bag ban, such a fee was mandated by the courts, which said a government passing a bag must incentivize against the use of paper bags with a fee for them.
A representative from the California Grocers Association said the organization was behind the bans if the city used the Los Angeles County model.
She cited that that law not only increased the use of reusable bags by 94 percent among customers in the county, but that adopting the county’s law would increase uniformity in the area would lessen confusion among customers.
“I just want to encourage people to use reusable bags,” McLean said.