On Monday, Governor Murphy vetoed A-3267/S-2600. This bill would have placed a $0.05 fee on single-use carryout bags provided by certain types of stores to customers. The League opposed the bill, which, if signed as is, would have preempted local legislation on this matter.
In his veto message to the Legislature, the Governor commended Legislators for their attention to environmental problems caused by single-use bags. He noted that those problems could have serious economic consequences due to the impact on tourism as well as public water and sewer infrastructure.
The Governor noted:
“As a society, we must break our dependence on single-use bags when going about our daily routines and instead commit ourselves to sustainable alternatives. Our responsibilities as stewards of the environment and our natural resources demand nothing less. I am committed to taking bold but necessary steps in order to protect our environment and firmly believe that we must look forward and implement programs designed for the future.”
His message to the Legislature stated:
“Instituting a five-cent fee on single-use bags that only applies to certain retailers does not go far enough to address the problems created by overreliance on plastic bags and other single-use carryout bags. In order to make a real difference, a single-use bag program must be devised and applied more broadly and consistently in a manner that would avoid loopholes that undermine the ultimate purpose of the program.”
The veto message concludes with the Governor’s promise ‘…to work collaboratively with my legislative colleagues to craft more concrete solutions to this issue.’
We intend to see to it that the concerns of municipal officials will continue to be heard on this issue. And we will keep you posted.
Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x121.