State Leaders Look To Ban Proposed Galveston Bag Ban, Stop Local California-ization

STATE LEADERS LOOK TO BAN PROPOSED GALVESTON BAG BAN, STOP LOCAL CALIFORNIA-IZATION galveston-seagullsMembers of Galveston’s city council expect to vote next year on a ban on plastic bags, writes Harvey Rice this week — and also expect the state government to try to overturn that ban, whether by lawsuit or through new legislation. Proponents of the ban note that the bags frequently make their way into the water around the island, where they may start new careers decorating the local beaches or killing birds and turtles that try to eat them. Rice notes that top members of the state government believe, however, that the bigger problem is Texas cities being “California-ized” (as governor Greg Abbott called it) by their own locally-developed rules; this include the 2014 Denton fracking ban that inspired a no-local-oil-and-gas-regulations-allowed law last session, invalidating dozens of older municipal ordinances around the state. Attorney general Ken Paxton has also sued Brownsville over a fee on retailer bag use, and supports the ongoing lawsuit that put the brakes on Laredo’s recent bag ban (which in turn caused Port Aransas to quietly stop enforcing its own ban, until the Texas supreme court weighs in). The Chronicle‘s editorial board also notes that state senator Bob Hall from Edgewood in Northwest Houston has already filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session aimed at eliminating all local bag rules. [Houston Chronicle] Photo of Galveston seagulls: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

15 Comment

  • Let’s get the #keeptexaspolluted campaign in full gear. Who wants to start selling t-shirts?

  • attaboy rednecks, tell these libs to keep their local governance off my lawn. err, wait a sec…

  • Why are people like state senator Bob Hall (among other elected state officials) spending so much time and effort on pieces of legislation that are NOT a priority or, in many cases, even necessary (e.g. keeping plastic bags in the water and on the beach; telling people where they can use the bathroom)?

  • I do find it amusing in a “shoot me now” sort of way that local control only applies when the control is maintained by conservatives. Like that sort of hypocrisy is in any way a surprise.

  • Yay for small government conservatives!!

  • Don’t tread on me. (Just kidding!)

  • These types local regulations are well-intentioned, but they end up creating unnecessary complexity and inconvenience. I applaud our governor’s efforts to block them.

  • There is a legitimate separation, contained in the Texas Civil Statutes, between items which the state of Texas regulates exclusively and the rest which is left to local option. For example, the Transportation Code reserves one hundred percent of the authority for setting speed limits to the state. Cities and counties have to follow the Transportation Code and can’t make up their own speed limits or traffic laws. The bag bans are typically written as pollution control ordinances and typically run afoul of the Natural Resources Code or the Government Code or the Water Code or even the Parks and Wildlife Code. Barring some change to the relevant codes, cities are not allowed to ban bags under the guise of pollution control. Cities, which care to ban, have to find a different legal rubric for their bans or change state law.

  • When I used to live in Colorado we called it “Californication” … the locals loved it.

  • Like others have said, it is hypocritical of state government to come barging into what is a local issue. The state legislature has plenty of things to fuss over (school finance, highways, water quality and supplies) besides worrying about plastic bags on the beach.
    Let the city of Galveston handle the plastic bag issue. (I see merits on both sides but I’d rather let the locals decide.)

  • The do-gooders are making up numbers and facts about the plastic bags. Let’s see some pics of Galveston turtles & birds who have died. Lets see some pics of some some storm drains that have been clogged. *crickets chirping loudly*

    Put it to a vote instead of kneejerk actions based on lies.

  • Curious what a potential Galveston plastic bag ban has to do with Houston real estate. You are showing your biased politics again, Swamplot staff.

  • Legally, it is the purview of the State government to establish a system by way of which municipalities, counties, school districts, university systems, and a wide variety of special entities can be chartered, organized, managed, and be subject to public scrutiny. States can and should place limitations on the powers of the entities that they themselves empower. This is totally and completely reasonable.
    For example, a municipal utility district should not have police powers. For example, school districts should probably be restricted from building $70 million stadia or from accepting surplus tactical vehicles from the U.S. Department of Defense; or at the very least, such actions ought to trigger State scrutiny. For example, economic development corporations probably should not have the authority to directly subsidize a retail store in order to entice it to build within one political jurisdiction rather than another. For example, a municipality, which does not issue drivers licenses, should be required to build roads that comply (at a minimum) with state safety regulations and signage. The list goes on and on…
    There are a wide variety of things that are best regulated at a regional level. States tend to be poorly drawn in the context of 21st-century urban geography and economic trade flows, but Texas isn’t too bad, not like NY state. Issues like this one or fracking rules or local rules on education, and so on, need to be considered on an issue-by-issue basis. What that means is that an advocate of local control on one issue isn’t necessarily a hypocrite if they oppose it on another issue. (However, it doesn’t mean that the possibility is automatically ruled out, either.)

  • omg why is our stupid State legislature so damn afraid of CA all the time ? those plastic bags are god awful and need to be banned, as has been done in many cities now all across the USA.

    maybe more Texans should get out and vote next time around to remove these right wing conservatives and their ILK OUT of State government so our state can be a nice place in which to live and raise a HEALTHY family again !!!!! Wake up TX.