Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Monday he had issued letters to the mayors and council members of 11 Texas cities warning them that they cannot enforce their bans on the use of plastic bags in retail stores.
“The Texas Supreme Court declared that banning single-use plastic bags is illegal. Municipalities ignoring this law are unlawfully passing their duty to manage solid waste on to their residents and retailers in violation of settled Texas law,” Paxton said in a news release. “A dislike of state law is no justification for a municipality to violate it.”
California became the first state to ban single use plastic bags in 2016. Since then, several other states have instituted bans or restrictions to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags.
Paxton wrote to the cities of Austin, Sunset Valley, Port Aransas, Laguna Vista, Fort Stockton, Eagle Pass, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Kermit, Freer and South Padre Island to “ensure awareness of the recent ruling and waste management responsibilities Texas law places on municipalities,” he said.
“These letters inform the cities of the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling that declared Laredo’s bag ban illegal,” Paxton said. “The Texas Supreme Court recognized that state law forbids cities from imposing their waste management duties and costs on citizens and retailers.”
The letters are posted on the AG’s website.
“Clearly, in enacting the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Legislature did not want the burden of solid waste management imposed upon citizens and retailers through the banning of various forms of bag and containers,” Paxton wrote to the leadership of the city of Austin. He told them that “while your city may have a different policy perspective” they must bear in mind that the “wisdom or expedience of the law the Legislature’s prerogative, not ours.”
Paxton also invited the local leaders to contact his office if they need any help “regarding compliance” with the state law.