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AG rules Bisbee plastic bag ban illegal

October 25, 2017

Arizona Daily Sun,

Howard Fischer,

October 24, 2017-

Saying state law trumps local control, Attorney General Mark Brnovich ruled Tuesday that a Bisbee ordinance banning plastic bags is illegal. Brnovich told Capitol Media Services that city attorney Britt Hanson presented several “compelling reasons” why the community should be able to outlaw plastic bags and require retailers to charge a nickel for paper ones. And the attorney general said he understands the concerns about dealing with flyaway trash. But he said all that is legally irrelevant.

The only thing that matters, Brnovich said, is that the Arizona Legislature voted last year to prohibit local governments from regulating “auxiliary containers.” That means no fees or prohibitions on anything ranging from bottles and cans to bags. And the attorney general said, the 2016 law spells out that lawmakers believe such issues are a matter of statewide concern and not subject to local regulations. That, Brnovich said, overrules the city’s contention that the ban is strictly a local issue. Brnovich, using the power granted to him under a separate 2016 law, gave the city 30 days to rescind the ordinance.

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