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Dallas City Council Repeals 5-Cent Plastic Bag Fee

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas City Council has voted to repeal the 5-cent plastic bag ordinance that has been in effect for six months.  Starting Monday, June 8, plastic bags in Dallas will once again be free.

Wednesday morning, council voted 9 to 5 against a motion to put a complete ban on plastic grocery sacks.

The 5-cent plastic bag fee was approved by Dallas City Council in March 2014 and went into effect at the beginning of 2015.  It was an issue proposed by council member Dwaine Caraway and was narrowly approved by a final vote of 8-6.

"This is about money, this is about big business," says Caraway.  "This is north against south, that is really, basically, what it boils down to."

"It's not about north and south, really what it's about is the government choosing not to regulate," says Dallas City Councilman Bil Callahan.

>>VOTE: Did Dallas City Council make the right decision to repeal the bag fee?<<

"It wasn't that big a pain, it was me getting to the store and thinking, 'Rats, I forgot,'" Dallas shopper Amanda Harris said at a Kroger store Wednesday afternoon.

In fact, Harris had to go back to her car to collect the reusable bags she brought especially to shop. "I mean, I'll continue to use them---sometimes I remember the re-usable bags---but I suppose it's good I won't have to pay 5-cents every time I forget."

But not everyone was as charitable about the short-lived fee. Just ask Teri Ervin, another Kroger shopper. "I think that was ill-conceived. I think it was confusing for store clerks, people were irate."

The ordinance allowed retailers to keep 10% of the income generated, with the other 90% going to the city.

From the beginning, retail associations were against the fee, saying that the bags provided a convenience for their shoppers.

Once the fee passed, shoppers and retailers were confused about which bags were subject to the charge.  Not only grocery stores, but department stores and restaurants were also charging for bags.  Shoppers opting for paper bags were also being charged 5-cents a piece.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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