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Editorial: While real problems fester, lawmakers get in cities’ way

December 11, 2018

The Columbus Dispatch,


December 10, 2018-

If only Ohio lawmakers were as interested in addressing the state’s many challenges as they are in interfering with local communities’ efforts to solve their own problems, the Statehouse might not be the bastion of backwardness it has become under all-Republican rule. Now it’s single-use plastic grocery bags, those ubiquitous, fluttering flaps of polyethylene that are filling landfills and littering roadways and storm drains from coast to coast. Just in case any Ohio community wants to make its landscape cleaner by banning the bags or requiring a fee for them, the Ohio House has passed a bill that prohibits any such local law.

No Ohio city has passed such a ban yet, but the Cuyahoga County Council has been studying a possible fee, and one has been discussed in Columbus. Officials in Boulder, Colorado, say that plastic-bag use dropped by 68 percent in the six months following the imposition of a 10 cents-per-bag fee. If House Bill 625 is approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. John Kasich, it will join the long list of measures that take problem-solving options away from local governments.

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