Bring Your Own Bag Act (Local Law 24)
On December 18, 2018, the Ulster County Legislature passed Local Law 24- “Promoting The Use Of Reusable Bags And Regulating The Use Of Plastic Carryout Bags And Recyclable Paper Carryout Bags.”
Tracey Bartels, District 15 (Gardiner, Shawangunk), sponsored the bill. Bartels is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats and was recently elected Chair of the Legislature. She has been working on getting this legislation passed for over three years.
Ulster County is the first in the state to pass a countywide ban on single-use plastic bags, though several other municipalities, including New Paltz, have passed similar local laws.
In October, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein signed a version of the bill, known as the Bring Your Own Bag Act, on the condition that the Legislature consider amendments delaying the start date and creating exemptions for some citizens. On December 18, the amended version was passed by the Legislature with 21 votes in favor (2 legislators were absent).
The new law bans stores from providing single-use plastic carryout bags and requires them to charge five cents for each recyclable paper bag provided to customers. It also provides an exemption from the five cent fee for recyclable paper bags for recipients of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) to avoid undue hardship for low-income people.
The law goes into effect on July 15th, 2019. Retailers in violation of the law can face fines ranging from $100 for a first offense to $500 for a third offense.
Multiple hearings were held on this legislation. UP members attended and spoke at several.
Our attendance at the Legislature’s regular sessions, at committee meetings and at scheduled public hearings is seen by our endorsed candidates as support and is much appreciated. It’s also a great way to find out what is on their agenda and get to know the individuals who represent us. Please consider going!