Plastic grocery bag ban passed by Mass. Senate

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BOSTON Environmentalists across Massachusetts were ecstatic Wednesday after members of the state Senate voted during budget deliberations to adopt an amendment banning plastic disposable shopping bags in the commonwealth.

The amendment, proposed by state Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), would take effect in August 2018 if it passes in the House of Representatives and remains in the fiscal 2017 spending measure that is ultimately signed into law.

State Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) praised the decision in a filmed statement, calling plastic bags “no good.”

Creem’s hometown has already passed its own municipal ordinance banning the flimsy bags used by grocery stores and big-box retailers such as Home Depot.

Not everyone was pleased with the initiative.

“It’s becoming a bit frightening this big government I-know-better-than-you attitude,” Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst told the State House News Service after the vote. “This is what small business owners are angry about – all the red tape and everything that is occurring as they try to stay in the black.”

Earlier this month, Framingham became the latest Bay State community to ban the bags after Town Meeting members approved of the proposal.

Beacon Hill lawmakers first considered a statewide ban in 2013 but it never reached the floor for a vote.