State Watch

Florida bill would make banning plastic straws illegal

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A bill in Florida that advanced through a state Senate committee Monday would prohibit local municipalities from banning plastic straws for five years.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the bill, when first introduced in the committee, would have actually forced restaurants and other dining establishments to only give out plastic straws when requested by a customer.

{mosads}The bill was amended during its committee hearing after state Sen. Travis Hutson (R), the bill’s sponsor, said he realized he was going too far and considered the initial bill “government overreach.”

The amended bill if passed would establish a study to be conducted by the state Department of Environmental Protection to examine the impact of plastic utensils.

“So what I did was file an amendment that would put a moratorium but give us a study,” Hutson told the local news outlet.

The study would also look into the impact a plastic straw ban would have on people with disabilities who “may rely on single-use plastic straws for feeding and hydration,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Additionally, the bill would fine local governments $25,000 if they violate the five-year moratorium on passing plastic straw bans.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee approved the amended bill on a party-line vote.

The measure will go to two more committees for hearings before the full Senate votes on it.

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