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Oklahoma moves to stop towns from fees, bans on plastic bags

The final day of the Oklahoma legislature for the 2017 regular session. (KOKH).PNG
(FILE/KOKH)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation to prevent cities and towns from imposing fees on single-use plastic and paper bags.

But officials in Norman, where a 5-cent fee has been proposed, say the measure encroaches on their search for an innovative way to protect the environment from carelessly discarded bags.

The bill's author, Republican Sen. James Leewright of Bristow, says allowing city and towns to adopt individual guidelines for plastic bags would create a hodgepodge of rules that would be difficult to comply with. Opponents say the bill is government overreach that does not address environmental concerns.

Oklahoma is one of at least five states where lawmakers are considering pre-empting local governments from taxing or banning plastic bags. Eleven others including Texas, Arizona and Florida already have pre-emptions laws.

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