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Group Launches Radio Ads Against Plastic Bag Ban

Chris Lehman


SALEM, Ore. - A bill to ban plastic supermarket checkout bags remains stalled in the Oregon legislature. It's moved from one committee to another and now opponents have launched a radio ad campaign against the measure. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman fact-checked one of the controversial claims in the radio spot.


The ad starts with an ominous question.

Announcer on ad: "Why would the Oregon legislature raise taxes on groceries with the price of food and gas already going up?"

In fact the proposed plastic bag ban would not tax food at all. But it would require stores to charge a nickel for people who want to use a paper bag from the store.

Democratic Senator Mark Hass is pushing the measure. He says legislative attorneys have ruled that the paper bag charge is not, in fact, a tax.

Mark Hass: "If you don't want to buy a sack, then you bring your own reusable. Nobody's forcing anybody to spend five cents."

The ads are paid for by the Taxpayer Association of Oregon in cooperation with South Carolina-based plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly.

The Association's director, Jason Williams, defends calling the paper bag fee a tax. He says it's a government-imposed surcharge.

Senator Hass, meanwhile, says he's still not certain he has enough votes to pass the bill.

On the Web:

Oregon plastic bag bill: (SB 536):

Radio ads opposing SB 536:

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network