Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, “recommitted” the plastic bag ban, sending it back to the legislature’s Environment Committee with barely five days left before the General Assembly’s adjournment deadline.
At this late stage of the session, the action virtually dooms the bill for 2015.
Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., D-Branford, said he is looking forward to conducting a new round of public hearings later this year to talk about the need for removing plastic bags from the environment. Kennedy is co-chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee.
An array of environmental groups pushed for the plastic bag ban, arguing that millions of single-use bags clog our waste disposal systems, get into waterways and ecologically sensitive areas, and threaten wildlife.Business groups, including associations representing Connecticut food and convenience stores and other small businesses, warned the phase-out would create added costs for businesses and consumers alike.
Just last month, during an Earth Day event, Democratic and Republican lawmakers voiced support for passage of the plastic bag ban. But there were a multitude of questions and concerns about how the phase-out would work, what fines to impose for violations, and other issues.
Lawmakers repeatedly attempted to water-down the legislation to make it palatable, according to various sources. With the General Assembly focused on reaching agreement on a state budget and time running out, legislative leaders apparently decided to end the plastic bag debate for this year.