Bill could prevent Kansas cities from banning plastic bags

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Wichita activists are concerned that their efforts to reduce plastic bag use in Wichita will be taken away.

State lawmakers are looking into passing a bill prohibiting cities from regulating or banning plastic bag usage.

Lori Lawrence says she's been fighting to ban plastic bag usage in Wichita for years.

Last fall, she and a group of activists presented the idea of a task force to the Wichita City Council, to help find ways to reduce plastic bag usage in the city. The task force was approved last week.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce opposes cities from regulating and banning plastic bag usage.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement to Eyewitness News: :"The legislation requested by the Kansas Chamber on behalf of its members and our Kansas Retail Council prohibits individual municipalities from passing ordinances banning plastic single use bags and other single use plastic items. The patchwork of differing rules and tax levels that is happening in other states and municipalities creates a burden on businesses. Anytime there is an additional rule, regulation or tax placed on a business, a business’ operation costs increase. Those increased costs get passed along to the consumer. It’s also important to recognize that many Kansas retailers already are moving toward no longer offering single use bags to their customers, without additional regulations and taxes."

The bill could be introduced in the House Committee of Commerce as early as this week.