The Athens News,
June 27, 2019-
Athens City Council voted unanimously Monday to reaffirm the city’s right to home rule in opposition to Ohio House Bill 242, a law that would preempt cities and other municipalities in Ohio’s authority to ban or tax single-use plastics. If passed in the Ohio General Assembly, HB 242 would prohibit any municipality in Ohio from imposing a tax or fee on any single-use plastic. This is considered “preemption,” or the authority of state or federal lawmakers to trump laws passed at the local level.
Athens City Council member Chris Fahl denounced HB 242 as undemocratic, charging that it goes against what Athens residents want for the betterment of their community. “We need to somehow put a stop to it because it is undemocratic,” Fahl said. “It’s so far away from what we want to do as a sustainable city.” She called for residents to save up their single-use plastics and mail them to state Sen. Frank Hoagland, R-Mingo Junction, and state Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville. Edwards has said he supports the bill; Hoagland has not yet said if would vote for the bill. “Maybe Jay Edwards and Frank Hoagland don’t understand what they’re doing,” Fahl said. “I’m going to collect (single-use plastics) and send them to Frank and Jay, and I want everyone in Athens to do this – because this is just outrageous.”