Lawmakers from Prince George’s County once again will push for a fee on disposable bags in the upcoming General Assembly session.
The bill would allow the County Council, which has supported the measure in the past, to impose a fee for the use of disposable bags at retail stores. Fees of 5 cents per bag already are in place in Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County.
“The fact is, it’s a great idea. It’s good for the environment,” said Del. Barbara A. Frush (D-Dist. 21) of Beltsville, who is introducing the bill along with Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Dist. 22) of University Park
Similar legislation was introduced during last year’s regular legislative session, but divided the county’s House delegation and died in the House Environmental Matters Committee.
Frush said she expects the measure to have more support this year, including from new delegation Chairwoman Jolene Ivey (D-Dist. 47) of Cheverly, who voted in favor of the bill last year.
Critics of such fees have argued that they pose a health risk because bags used to carry some groceries, such as raw meat, could need to be washed thoroughly after each use.
People on fixed incomes, such as retirees, also could be hurt, even when charged only a few cents at a time for bags, critics say.