skip navigation
Support KUOW
Listen to News


question mark


Oregon's Plastic Bag Ban Struggles To Gain Votes

Chris Lehman


SALEM, Ore. - An effort to ban plastic grocery bags in Oregon has hit a snag. Advocates haven't gathered enough votes to pass it. They face a legislative deadline this Thursday to keep the bill alive.


Oregon would become the first state in the nation to prohibit single-use plastic checkout bags. Environmental groups say the sacks create litter and clog up recycling machines.

Under the current version of the bill, stores could offer paper bags for a nickel apiece, or customers could bring their own reusable bags.

Grocers support the plastic bag ban because they want a uniform policy statewide rather than a patchwork of local laws.

Lobbyist Joe Gilliam with the Northwest Grocery Association says the measure is one vote short of passing the state Senate, at least for now.

Joe Gilliam: "You just never go to the floor throwing a Hail Mary. I think that's just bad strategy and I've just seen that fail more often than not. And maybe we can find a way to amend the bill that can bring some votes on, just makes people feel more easy about it."

The plastic bag industry has mounted a vigorous campaign against the measure, calling it "Big Brother" legislation.

Under Senate rules, most committees have until this Thursday to move bills to the floor.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Oregon Plastic Bag Ban (SB 536):