House Subcommittee Hears Bill to Repeal the Ban on City Bag Regulations

The bill would repeal language from a 2017 omnibus bill banning cities primarily from regulating plastic bags.
(Published Mar 11, 2019)

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HF 511, a League-initiated bill that would repeal the law prohibiting political subdivisions from banning any type of bag or packaging, received an information hearing in the House Subcommittee on Local Government on March 6.

The bill, authored by Rep. Steve Elkins (DFL-Bloomington), would repeal Minnesota Statutes, section 471.9998, which was passed as part of a 143-page omnibus bill during the 2017 special session. It was one of only two preemption bills signed into law last biennium, despite the introduction of more than 60 bills threatening local control.

Minnetonka Mayor Brad Wiersum, who is the League’s second vice president, testified in support of the bill.

“I can confidently tell you that many of our over 800 member cities have no interest in regulating bags. I can also confidently tell you that all our members support the ability of any city to consider doing so,” Wiersum said. “We have seen a dramatic increase in legislation—both here in Minnesota and nationally—that threatens local control and erodes local decision-making authority. We ask you to work with us to strengthen the state-local relationship so that we as elected officials can better respond to the needs of Minnesotans.”

The bill is scheduled to be heard, and presumably voted on, in the Subcommittee on Local Government on March 12 and in Government Operations on March 13. The Senate companion bill, SF 1903 (Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis), awaits action in the Senate Local Government Committee.

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