Nothing is in the bag when it comes to a proposed 5-cent fee for single-use bags.
The measure is in limbo after Gov. Phil Murphy used a line-item veto to remove any language related to the proposed bag fees from the state budget on Monday. It is unclear how Murphy views the proposed fees, but environmental groups want him to ditch the bill in favor of stricter regulations.
"The plastic bag bill is currently pending review and has not been scored in the budget," said Dan Bryan, a spokesman for the governor. "No final decision has been made regarding the legislation."
The bill on Murphy's desk (A3267/S2600) would impose a 5-cent fee on each paper and plastic single-use bag handed out by chain stores and large retailers in New Jersey. Lawmakers project that the proposed fees will raise more than $23 million for a newly created lead abatement fund in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, said he hopes that Murphy will close loopholes in the fee proposal, like exemptions for small retailers, while creating a stricter definition of a reusable bag and setting a timeline to phase the fee proposal into an outright plastic bag ban.
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