AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Senate has given its initial approval to a bill to ban single-use plastic bags.
The Senate voted 24-11 Tuesday to ban single-use plastic bags statewide. The House voted 91-52 Thursday last week. Republican Sens. Lisa Kiem of Dixfield, Marianne Moore of Calais and Pam Rosen of Bucksport joined all Senate Democrats in voting for the bill.
The bill faces another round of legislative action in both chambers.
Retailers support Maine’s bill to allow stores to provide recyclable paper bags for at least 5 cents. It would make Maine the fourth state to ban plastic shopping bags effective in 2020 after California, New York and Hawaii and would override local ordinances in more than 20 Maine cities and towns that either ban plastic bags or charge a fee to people who take bags.
Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Harpswell, said the legislation follows extensive negotiations with groups representing grocers and other retailers who agree that a statewide law is better than a patchwork of local laws.
Gov. Janet Mills’ administration has indicated support for the measure. If enacted, it would take effect in April 2020.
Several dozen Maine municipalities already ban single-use plastic bags.
Earlier this month, Maine became the first state to ban single-use food and drink foam containers.