HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It has passed the House, it has passed the Senate, and now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. However, the governor says he plans to veto the bill, which would ban other bans on plastic bags.
House Bill 1071 does not let local cities and towns implement fees, taxes, or bans on plastic bags. Supporters of the bill say it saves jobs in the plastic bag manufacturing industry.
“This is not a bill about bags, this is a bill about jobs,” said Phil Rozenski, senior director of Sustainability for Novolex. Pennsylvania has more than 1,500 employees who make plastic bags.
“They’re located in these small towns in central Pennsylvania. As you heard today, they’re the economic drivers of those small towns. You heard those employees saying where else in my community can I find a job that pays this well,” Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks) said.
Novolex is one of 14 plastic bag makes in Pennsylvania. The Centre County facility has a workforce 160 strong, including Kara Miller who could not afford to go to college.
“I started and I knew I could just pay my bills with this job. I saw people advancing at accelerated speeds. I thought I’m a hard worker, I can do that, and I did,” Miller said.
Critics include Wolf, who plans to veto the bill. He says it should be decided at the local level. Others say the bill harms mother nature, but some Democratic lawmakers disagree.
“It’s a positive environmental bill that encourages that these bags be recycled and not find their way into the waste stream,” House Minority Whip and co-sponsor of the bill, Mike Hanna (D-Centre/Clinton), said.
The American Progressive Bag Alliance delivered a letter to the governor, urging him to reconsider vetoing the bill.