Bag the Bans

Big-government nanny-staters in the state’s capitol city are turning to a faux conservative argument in order to defend Austin’s plastic bag ban against potential intervention from the state. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. There is nothing conservative about grotesque intrusions on the free market.

As you may recall, Austin recently became the largest city in Texas to ban single-use plastic and paper bags in grocery stores and other retail outlets. Big-government types that permeate Austin City Hall argued that a ban was needed for waste management and litter purposes (an argument that’s been debunked by several studies), ignoring all the negative consequences that would result. The general public didn’t even get to vote on the matter before city council members enacted the ban that went into effect on March 1st.


State Rep. Drew Springer
Republican State Rep. Drew Springer rightly saw this as an overreach of government that infringes on consumers’ and retailers’ right to choose the type of bags they want to use and provide.

As such, Springer filed HB 2416, a bill that would invalidate any local ban on bags given to customers at a point of sale based on the material they are made out of.

HB 2416 received a hearing the House Urban Affairs Committee last week, where nanny-state leftists in Austin flocked to argue that a ban on plastic or paper bags was justified because of “local control.”

Clever — but conservatives should see right through the rhetoric.

Many decisions should be made as lowest level of government possible, where elected officials are most accountable to the public. But local control can often be abused, which is exactly why we have a Constitution to protect the rights of the people and restrict government.

As such, the state absolutely has a duty and obligation to protect consumers and businesses from an unjust intrusion on their economic liberty. Lawmakers should support Rep. Springer’s HB 2416.

Currently, the bill is still pending in the House Urban Affairs Committee. You can encourage your state representative to support the bill and demand it be given a vote on the floor of the House by contacting their office or sending them a letter.

In the meantime, stay on top of your local elected officials and tell them what a bad idea bans on plastic bags are. They may very well be considering one right now!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dustin Matocha is the Executive Director of Empower Texans. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.

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