Gov. Phil Murphy deleted language from the state's $37.4 billion budget Sunday that would have raised millions from a proposed 5-cent fee on plastic supermarket bags, signaling that he may support more stringent restrictions, including a ban. 

Murphy has about 30 days left to decide the fate of the 5-cent fee bill, passed hurriedly by the Legislature last month as lawmakers were scrambling to find new revenue sources. Dan Bryan, a spokesman for Murphy, said Monday that no final decision has been made regarding the bill.

But environmentalists and some state lawmakers are urging Murphy, a Democrat, to support a temporary fee for a few years followed by an outright ban by vetoing the bill or rewriting it as part of a conditional veto. They want a bag law based on California's measure that bans plastic bags and charges a 10-cent fee on paper bags. 

"The changes that need to be made to this bill are really critical; otherwise we're not doing much to solve the problem," said Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. "Nobody likes to change their habits, but this is a direction we need to go in. Just look at how much plastic is on your beaches and in your parks."

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