Please come to the West Chester hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17, at Borough Hall, 401 E. Gay. St.! Be there no matter what!
Just when West Chester Borough Council was poised to pass a ban on single-use plastic bags and straws, a state legislator (to help a friend who has a plastics bag factory–yes, shameless!) snuck this prohibition into the state Budget bill, as summarized:
Summary: Amendment 2588 to SB712, Section 1706-E: Reports to General Assembly.
1) The Independent Fiscal Office shall evaluate the economic impact to the Commonwealth, its industry partners and consumers regulation impacting single use plastics and submit a full report of its findings to the General Assembly no later than July 1, 2020 [n.b. changed from December 31].
2) The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee shall evaluate the environmental impact and any impact upon residents of this Commonwealth from any regulation impacting single-use plastics and submit a full report of its findings to the General Assembly no later than July 1, 2020 [n.b. changed from December 31].
3) Prohibition.–Until such time as the Independent Fiscal Office and the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee submit the reports a local governmental body may not enact an ordinance imposing a tax on or relating to the use, prohibition or restriction of single-use plastics
So, one more issue for the 2020 election: will candidates agree to prefer the needs of the environment and citizens over the profits of the plastic bag industry?
Will the state reports, an obvious delaying tactic, just happen to forget the economic impact of communities having to clean up and dispose of myriad plastic throwaways?
Will West Chester Borough, despite the state’s opposition in this and other matters, still find a way to “to provide for the health, safety and well-being of Borough citizens” (as is its duty per the Borough’s Home Rule Charter, section 102)?
Here is the full wording of the amendment that became Section 1706-E of SB712, the 2019-20 state budget. Note that The General Assembly has so little regard for itself that it purports to prohibit even itself from taxing or regulating plastics for the next year!
SECTION 1706-E. REPORTS TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
A) INDEPENDENT FISCAL OFFICE.–THE INDEPENDENT FISCAL
OFFICE SHALL EVALUATE THE ECONOMIC IMPACT TO THE COMMONWEALTH,
ITS INDUSTRY PARTNERS AND CONSUMERS FOR ANY REGULATION IMPACTING
SINGLE-USE PLASTICS, REUSABLE PLASTICS, AUXILIARY CONTAINERS,
WRAPPINGS OR POLYSTYRENE CONTAINERS AND SUBMIT A FULL REPORT OF
ITS FINDINGS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY NO LATER THAN JULY 1, 2020.
(B) LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE.–THE
LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE SHALL EVALUATE THE
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND ANY IMPACT UPON RESIDENTS OF THIS
COMMONWEALTH FROM ANY REGULATION IMPACTING SINGLE-USE PLASTICS,
REUSABLE PLASTICS, AUXILIARY CONTAINERS, WRAPPINGS OR
POLYSTYRENE CONTAINERS AND SUBMIT A FULL REPORT OF ITS FINDINGS
TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY NO LATER THAN JULY 1, 2020.
(C) PROHIBITION.–UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE INDEPENDENT FISCAL
OFFICE AND THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND FINANCE COMMITTEE SUBMIT
THE REPORTS REQUIRED UNDER SUBSECTIONS (A) AND (B),
RESPECTIVELY, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OR A LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL BODY
OR AGENCY MAY NOT ENACT A LAW, RULE, REGULATION OR ORDINANCE
IMPOSING A TAX ON OR RELATING TO THE USE, DISPOSITION, SALE,
PROHIBITION OR RESTRICTION OF SINGLE-USE PLASTICS, REUSABLE
PLASTICS, AUXILIARY CONTAINERS, WRAPPINGS OR POLYSTYRENE