Since 2009, every time the Texas Legislature has met in its regular session, one or more bills have been introduced to pre-emption local ordinances on single-use bags.
In the 2017 session, Senate Bill 103 received a hearing in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. Bag ordinance supporters came out in force from Galveston, Houston, South Texas and Central Texas and the bill was never voted out of Committee.
For the first time there was a good bill introduced to clarify the rights of local governments to pass ordinances addressing single-use bag pollution, House Bill 3482. the bill was heard by the House Urban Affairs Committee on April 25, 2017. Two 11-year-old Houston activists Caoilin Krathaus and Lila Mankad did a great job giving testimony as did goat rancher/attorney Gil Saenz.
The House Urban Affairs Committee approved HB 3482 on a 4-3 vote! Voting in favor of HB 3482 were Chair Carol Alvarado, Rep. Diego Bernal, Rep. Jarvis Johnson and Rep. Bill Zedler. Voting against HB 3482 were Vice Chair Jeff Leach, Rep. Gary Elkins and Rep. Jason Isaac.
The House Calendars Committee voted to put HB 3482 on the House Calendar to be considered on May 11, 2017. Unfortunately, due to some disruptive parliamentary antics, the House fell behind on its calendar and time ran out before HB 3482 could be considered.
If the Texas Supreme Court rules in favor of local control on bag ordinances in the case from the City of Laredo, HB 3482 will not be necessary. Unfortunately, the single-use bag manufacturers and some retail lobby interests will continue their efforts to change state law.
Selected bills introduced on local control on single-use bags:
SB 338 (Van de Putte) bag preemption bill
HB 1913 (Hancock) bag preemption bill
HB 2406 (Springer) bag preemption bill
HB 1939 (Rinaldi) bag preemption bill
SB 103 (Hall) bag preemption bill
HB 3482 (G. Hinojosa) Anti-pre-emption bill