Mayor signs bag ordinance

Mayor Martin Walsh on Dec. 15 signed the “bag” ordinance, though with some reservations about how the measure will be funded.

The City Council during a hearing on Nov. 29 unanimously approved the ordinance, which levies at least a five-cent surcharge for using a thick plastic bag or a paper bag at a store in the city. Thinner plastic bags would be banned under the measure.

The Council failed to pass the ordinance last year, but the measure was re-introduced in the Council in January. City Council President Michelle Wu and Jamaica Plain City Councilor Matt O’Malley sponsored the ordinance.

Walsh said doing a press scrum over the weekend that the Mayor’s Office provided the audio from that is major concern is funding, as the five-cent surcharge is the threshold that businesses can start charging for bags.

“Some companies or stores can charge as much as fifty cents or a dollar for a bag,” he said. “That’s the problem. There are people with fixed income in the city. It passed 11-0 in the Council. I would have preferred if they had worked with us more on it and come up with ideas with who is going to pay for it. It’s going to be passed on to the consumer.”

O’Malley said he was “thrilled” that the mayor signed the ordinance. He said the council worked “very hard” the past year and a half on the measure and had a “robust, open, and transparent process.”

“It’s a very strong and effective bill,” said O’Malley.

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