July 23, 2018-
Essex County Freeholder, environmental lawyer and 25-year South Orange resident Janine Bauer sees the potential New Jersey Bag Tax as an assault on municipal lawmakers. Bill A3267 would impose a 5-cent fee on single-use bags in chains or any store with retail space exceeding 2,000 square feet. It would also preempt New Jersey towns from enacting their own carryout bag legislation, Bauer said, meaning South Orange could not implement local single-use bag ordinances.
“It’s a very anti-democratic thing to do, to pass a law and say, ‘By the way, nobody else can try to have a better idea,’” Bauer said. South Orange and Maplewood have previously combated plastic pollution with the SO Not Plastic Challenge, which encouraged residents to ditch single-use plastics for a week, and the annual South Orange River Day cleanup at Meadowland Park. Bauer served as a South Orange trustee and observed how residents care about the environment, she said.