Find Out Which State Just Passed a Ban on Banning Plastic Bags
Good news, environmentalists: Arizona has passed a plastic bag ban. Wait, scratch that. It turns out they’ve actually passed a ban on plastic bag bans. Thank goodness state legislators are working hard to make sure that people are free to waste as many non-decomposable items as they see fit.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The bill is the handiwork of Republican State Sen. Nancy Barto, who is concerned that future “excessive regulation” on bags and other disposable containers could stifle economic growth. Therefore, she drafted legislation to preemptively block any no-good hippies from trying to impose a little social responsibility on the free market. With the help of conservative majorities in both the state House and Senate, the bill passed and now awaits the governor’s signature.
The ban on bans doesn’t stop at just bags, either. The law also will stop local governments from putting any restrictions on bottles, cans and boxes. State Republicans argue that any attempt to say how stores or customers can carry items would unnecessarily burden state businesses.
“I’m extremely concerned about economic freedom in this state,” said State Rep. Warren Petersen, who helped introduce the bill. “For me, I support individual rights and people making their own decisions.”
Alas, Arizona consumers aren’t making smart decisions when it comes to plastic bags. Few shoppers bring reusable bags with them when they shop, and less than five percent of the state’s single use bags are recycled. Those that are recycled cause problems—Phoenix reports $1 million in damage to recycling machinery annually due to bags. Tempe, alone, is estimated to go through 50 million single-use plastic bags in a year, and that’s just counting the damage coming from the eighth most populated city in the state.
At what point does protecting Arizonans from their own environmental destruction take precedent over slightly inconveniencing them? Future generations aren’t likely to be so thankful that politicians chose “individual rights” over environmental responsibility.
From the state’s aggressive action on this issue, you might assume that several local governments had already implemented bag bans of their own. On the contrary, just one town in the state had previously passed a bag ban: Bisbee, Ariz. Hopefully Bisbee’s 5,500 residents will exercise their newfound “individual rights” and continue to forego single use bags in favor of the reusable variety.
Considering that bag restrictions weren’t even popular in Arizona, the ban on bans is clearly more of a reaction to other states’ successful transitions to a greener way of shopping. Places that have already passed such bans have slashed the need for hundreds of millions of bags, reduced local litter and found that customers largely aren’t inconvenienced by the switch, especially after they get used to it.
Simply put, conservative Arizonans don’t want to admit that the environment should be a concern, so they’re preemptively putting up a blockade for when most of the country is going bag-free. Like so many issues, though, Arizona is going to be on the wrong side of history with the bag ban ban. Sure they can do what they can to spite liberals and environmentalists in the meantime, but the green movement is coming!
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It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
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