Gov. Andrew Cuomo Proposes Plastic Bag Ban After Killing New York City's Bag Law

The Democratic governor proposed a ban on single-use plastic bags in his state-of-the-state address on Jan. 15. Nearly two years earlier, he signed a bill that prevented New York City from charging for bags as the District of Columbia and Boston do.

January 23, 2019, 2:00 PM PST

By Irvin Dawid

Governor Andrew Cuomo

lev radin / Shutterstock

"Among Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s goals in the coming year is for the Democrats who now control the State Legislature to ban single-use plastic bags," reports Azi Paybarah on Jan. 22. Bans and/or fees on single-use plastic bags exist in hundreds of cities across the nation, such as Boston where it took effect last month, but statewide bans and/or fees exist in only two states and the District of Columbia.

However, it must be noted that more states ban local governments from enacting plastic bag reduction ordinances than those that have adopted them.

Following in the footsteps of Arizona and Missouri in 2015 and Idaho in 2016, Michigan passed legislation in 2016, signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, to preempt cities or counties from regulating single-use plastic bags or other disposable containers. The law was precipitated by an ordinance passed by Washtenaw County (county seat is Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan) to charge a 10-cent bag fee. 

Similarly, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation on Feb. 14, 2017, "effectively killing a law that would have imposed a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City, disappointing environmentalists as well as city leaders who characterized the move as a classic case of Albany’s overreach," reported Jesse McKinley for the Times. Cuomo objected to the fee being kept by the merchants, yet that's what's done with the nickel fee in D.C. and Boston, and the 10-cent fee in California.

The current proposal, described in the governor's Jan. 13 announcement, includes an expansion of the beverage container recycling known as the Bottle Bill. Times reporter Michael Gold of the Times reports more extensively on the proposal and background on the issue, including current state legislation to "establish guidelines for carryout bag waste reduction."

[Also see Gold's related article via Planetizen: New York City Polystyrene Ban Took Effect New Year's Day, January 4, 2019: Thanks to two recent New York State court rulings, disposable food and beverage containers will no longer be made from polystyrene in the nation's largest city.]

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 in The New York Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

3 hours ago - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

4 hours ago - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

5 hours ago - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.