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Lone Baltimore Councilwoman To Vote Against Plastic Bag Ban Calls It 'Unnecessary Tax'

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore's city council Monday night signed off on legislation that would ban retailers from giving out plastic bags at checkouts and charge customers for other single-use bags.

Similar bans have failed eight times in the city before the latest push, which began in June.

Proponents of the ban said it will encourage residents to take reusable bags to stores and reduce plastic bag waste. Opponents, however, have decried the inconsistency of bans between cities and states, saying it makes it hard for businesses that operate in multiple areas.

Councilwoman Danielle McCray cast the single vote against the legislation Monday, saying she supported the plastic bag ban but opposed the five-cent fee imposed on other bags.

"I know that pennies add up, I know that dollars add up and my vote will be a consistent no when it comes to unnecessary taxes on my constituents," she said.

The ban applies at supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations, but a provision will allow customers to get a plastic bag to hold specific products like fresh fish and meat, fruits and vegetables and newspapers.

The bill now sits on Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young's desk for his signature.

Young has previously expressed support for the measure. If the mayor signs the legislation, it would take effect by late 2020.

Another measure aimed at protecting the environment, a ban on styrofoam containers in the city, took effect last month ahead of a statewide ban set to take effect next year.

State Delegate Brook Lierman previously told WJZ she planned to introduce a similar plastic bag ban at the state level.

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