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Baltimore's Plastic Bag Ban One Step Closer To Becoming Law

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore's effort to ban plastic bags is one step closer to becoming law after a city council vote Monday.

Councilmembers voted 13-1 to move the legislation banning plastic bags at stores and restaurants around the city forward.

Under the current proposal, shoppers would be charged five cents for other types of bags, including paper.

"We moved one step closer to not having the proliferation of single-use plastic in our lives," Councilman Bill Henry said.

The city council will take a final vote in two weeks; if it passes, the bill will go to Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young's desk.

Henry, who introduced the legislation, previously told WJZ he's confident Young will either sign the bill or allow it to become law without his signature.

Adam Lindquist with Waterfront Partnership Baltimore is behind the Mr. Trash Wheel installation in the Inner Harbor. Over the past five years, the trash collector has scooped up 676,000 plastic bags from the water, he said.

He sees a need for the legislation.

"We pick up some plastic bags, but we know there's a lot more out there," he said.

Maryland retailers who have long opposed the city's efforts to ban plastic bags said they want to be sure there is consistency across cities and counties.

"Imagine if you're a multi-state, multi-jurisdictional operator and there is this patchwork of laws that exist and that is exactly what's going on in Maryland," said Cailey Locklair, the president of the Maryland Retailers Association. "We're about to have five different localities and not one of those laws is the same as another county."

State Delegate Brook Lierman previously told WJZ she planned to introduce a bill banning plastic bags statewide; city councilmembers said they're not sure how a statewide ban would affect the local legislation.

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