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New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo Pushes Plastic Bag Ban

A man walks out of a store with plastic bags on May 5, 2016 in New York
Getty/AFP Spencer Platt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pleading with state lawmakers to ban stores and restaurants from using plastic bags.

The New York Democrat introduced legislation Monday that would ban those establishments from issuing single-use plastic bags.

“The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water, and our natural resources, and we need to take action to protect our environment,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As the old proverb goes: ‘We did not inherit the earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children,’ and with this action, we are helping to leave a stronger, cleaner and greener New York for all.”

WBEN reported that the bill does not have any sponsors in the state Assembly or Senate.

Cuomo’s legislative push comes as he faces a primary challenge from progressive activist and actress Cynthia Nixon. Nixon launched a platform Friday outlining her support for climate change, pledging to reject fossil fuels and enact laws holding companies accountable if they do not adhere to pro-climate change policies.

The governor’s proposed ban is a stark change from his past views on restricting plastic bag usage.

The New York City Council passed a bill in 2016 proposing a five-cent tax for consumers who opt to use plastic bags. The bill passed by a vote of 28-20, but Cuomo signed legislation in 2017 overturning the city’s tax.

California is currently the only state with a plastic bag ban on the books, although cities such as Washington, DC, have a tax on plastic bags.

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