Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plastic Bag Bills in the Hawaii Legislature 2012 - Mid-Session UPDATE

UPDATED 4/4/2012

It has been an active and exciting 2012 legislative season for the bag bills thus far. On March 6th, SB2511 passed 23-2 in a Senate floor vote and moves on be considered in the House. This was the only bag bill left alive after the mid-session deadlines.

Despite widespread support, SB2511 failed to be scheduled for a hearing by the deadline thanks again to Rep. Oshiro, head of the House finance committee. Details here via Civil Beat: Bag Bill, Gutted and Replaced, Clings To Life. There is still good, if confusing news. In response, House members have gutted another bill, HB 2483, and replaced it with text from the bag bill. So some form of bag bill is still alive for now. This is the new proposed language here... The substitute bill passed WAM on 4/3/2012 and is headed to conference committee for more debate.

We'll let you know when to submit supportive. Sample testimony in the previous post on our home page! Testimony preferred by 24 hours in advance of hearing.

In its original form this bill "Requires businesses in the State to collect a fee for single-use checkout bags provided to a customer. Allows businesses to keep twenty per cent of the fees for the first year of the program and ten per cent of the fees thereafter, subject to income and general excises taxes. Requires fees to be collected on single-use checkout bags not prohibited by county ordinance. Deposits all fees into a special account in the environmental management special fund. Requires first $800,000 of all fees collected to be expended by DOH for costs relating to administrative, education, audit, compliance, and enforcement activities associated with the fee. Requires any remaining fees collected to be deposited in the environmental response revolving fund and the natural area reserve fund. Requires reports to the legislature. Effective 7/1/2050." 

The bill has widespread support from 33 organizations, including a diverse set of retailers, state and county agencies, environmental groups, and other organizations. Here's the latest Q&A details from our partners.

As always we will keep you up to date. See the links in our post below for all the latest from Sierra Club's Capitol Watch and sample testimony!

Also of note, a Plastic Bag Ban proposal for Honolulu City and County is still alive. Details here and here. In its latest round of debate, council members proposed a temporary fee.

Environmental group volunteers littered the Capitol grounds with over 400 plastic bags in February, the number of bags an average family takes home in 1 year.

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