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Five Months Later, Lawsuit Against Austin's Bag Ban Still Pending

Five months ago, Austin cashiers stopped asking, “Paper or plastic?”  And since then, Austin retailers and customers have adjusted to the city ordinance banning single-use paper and plastic bags.

However, the Texas Retailers Association argues banning plastic bags does more harm than good.

About a week before the bag ban took effect, the TRA filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin seeking a trial regarding the ordinance’s legality. The TRA argues the ban violates the state Health and Safety Code.

But so far, the petition hasn’t gone anywhere.

“We have been pushing to try and get a schedule for briefing and then a hearing, and the city has offered up a number of reasons why they were not in a hurry to get to a trial,” says TRA president Ronnie Volkening. “They cited the legislative session that was going on through May as one reason why they were not in a hurry.”

Volkening says he believes there will be a hearing in the next couple of months.

If the courts rules in favor of the Texas Retailers Association, Volkening said Texas cities should consider alternatives to the bag ban, like a voluntary recycling program. But in the meantime, another Texas city is following Austin’s lead: according to the Associated Press, Corpus Christi is consideringa plan to ban disposable plastic bags.

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