The Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association says it is pleased the Tennessee Senate agreed with the retail industry in its vote to approve the Statewide Standardization bill. The bill prevents local municipalities and communities from passing ordinances regulating single-use plastic bags, containers or other items.
The Tennesee House of Representatives voted on the bill March 26 and the Senate voted to approve it March 28. The legislation now goes to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature.
“We are grateful that the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives that Tennessee’s food businesses cannot thrive in a business environment dominated by a patchwork of community-by-community regulations governing the items and materials they use and the food they sell,” said Rob Ikard, TGCSA president. “We asked the Tennessee General Assembly to establish that our industries deserve one consistent set of rules, and that the General Assembly be the origin of those rules.”
The bill, known as Senate Bill 431/House Bill 1021 prevents local governments from banning, restricting or taxing items or materials used in food retail such as bags, cups, bottles, cans, utensils; or food manufacturing and distribution, such as packaging materials and containers. It also prevents local governments from taxing or regulating content in beverages.
“There can be no local plastic bag bans, straw bans, sugar taxes, menu labeling ordinances or any of a host of bad ideas that local governments around the country are trying,” Ikard said. “One standard will prevail statewide, since community-by-community initiatives in these areas will now be prohibited.”
The legislation was an amendment to a bill relating to county district boundary maps. Click here to read the amendment.
The grocery industry supports the legislation, arguing limiting single-use plastic bags and one-time-use containers will cost stores and restaurants money.
Supporters of plastic bans claim single-use plastic items such as straws, containers and bags become litter and damage the environment and believe local municipalities have the authority to ban these items.
Other states, such as South Carolina, are considering similar legislation.