Statewide plastic bag ban one step closer to becoming law in Alaska

Published: Apr. 26, 2019 at 8:44 AM AKDT
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A proposal to ban single-use plastic bags across all of Alaska is one step closer to becoming law, after being voted out of committee in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, sponsored House Bill 81 which would require Alaska retailers to stop using single-use plastic bags by Jan. 1, 2021. Stores cited three times or more for continuing to use plastic bags would face fines up to $750 for each violation.

The bill carves out exceptions for meat, vegetables, bulk grains, bakery goods, and items that do not have other packaging. An amendment introduced by Rep. Sara Hannan, D-Juneau, would also create a carve out for small retailers.

Similar legislation was proposed in 2018 by Josephson but it did not make it to the House floor for a vote.

Across Alaska, 17 communities already have bag bans in place while the Denali Borough and Homer consider local bans of their own.

The legislation leaves the Community and Regional Affairs and Committee and now heads to the House Committee on Labor and Commerce.