Democrats vote to outlaw plastic bags and straws

NASHUA – Those elected to represent the Gate City in the New Hampshire House were nearly unanimous in voting to stop businesses from distributing single-use plastic bags and straws.

All 27 members of the House elected from Nashua are Democrats. Tuesday, 25 House members from the city voted against plastic straws, while 24 supported the ban on plastic bags. Of the 54 potential votes on the two measures, there was only one nay vote. Rep. Paul R. Bergeron opposed the regulation on bags.

Proponents emphasized the harm plastic causes to wildlife and the environment, especially as cities such as Nashua continue battling trash problems.

This also occurs as the city of Nashua leaders want $6 million to expand the Four Hills Landfill, as well as another $120,000 just to keep the city’s current recycling program going.

If the measure passed by the House on Tuesday regarding plastic bags ultimately become law, customers will have to provide their own packaging when going to grocery and department stores, or pay the businesses for reusable bags at a cost of at least 10 cents each.

As for the straws, the business could still provide them – if a customer specifically requests one.

“If this bill becomes law, and you’re driving away from receiving your drive-thru milkshake or iced coffee realizing you forgot to ask for a straw, just remember that even your friends in California have more straw freedom than you do here in the Live Free or Die state,” House Minority Leader Richard Hinch, R-Merrimack, said. “Even California recognizes that plastic straws have a place in society, and they chose to only apply their prohibition to full-service restaurants.”

The House passed the straw distribution ban, HB 558, by a vote of 196-146. It applies to “any restaurant, cafe, delicatessen, coffee shop, supermarket or grocery store, vending truck or cart, food truck, movie theater, or business or institutional cafeteria, including those operated by or on behalf of the state.”

The legislation states the ban on straws would not apply to instruments made of material other than plastic, such as paper, wood or bamboo.

As for the ban on single-use plastic bags, HB 560, the legislation states, “No store of food service business shall provide a single-use plastic carryout bag to a customer, except to distribute remaining 2018 inventory.” The measure passed by a count of 201-145.

Businesses will be allowed to provide reusable plastic or recycled paper bags to customers at a cost of at least 10 cents each.

“House Democrats aren’t satisfied with asking consumers to make better choices; they want to force businesses to provide you with a certain kind of bag, and charge you for it. The number of regulations, mandates, taxes, and fees that House Democrats are proposing and passing this year is just astounding, and this 10-cent bag tax is just another example,” Hinch added.

Both bills now go to the Senate for consideration.

By The Numbers

HOW THEY VOTED #1:

All 27 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from the city of Nashua are

Democrats.

Here is how they voted on HB 558: “Restricting the distribution of plastic straws.”

In total, there were 25 yeas, 0 nays, and 2 non-votes.

Ward 1 — Jan Schmidt, William Bordy and Bruce Cohen voted yea.

Ward 2 — Ray Newman, Sue Newman and Paul R. Bergeron voted yea.

Ward 3 — Sherry Dutzy, Patricia Klee and Suzanne Vail voted yea.

Ward 4 — Fred Davis Jr., Manny Espitia and David Cote voted yea.

Ward 5 — Allison Nutting-Wong, Michael Pedersen and Dan Toomey voted yea.

Ward 6 — Mark King voted yea. Fran Nutter-Upham and Ken Gidge did not vote.

Ward 7 — Greg Indruk, Catherine Sofikitis and Deb Stevens voted yea.

Ward 8 — Skip Cleaver, Laura Damphousse Telerski and Latha Mangipudi voted yea.

Ward 9 — Marty Jack and Linda Harriott-Gathright and Michael O’Brien Sr. voted yea.

HOW THEY VOTED #2:

All 27 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from the city of Nashua are

Democrats.

Here is how they voted on HB 560: “Restricts the distribution of single-use carryout bags by stores and food service businesses.”

In total, there were 24 yeas, 1 nay, and 2 non-votes.

Ward 1 — Jan Schmidt, William Bordy and Bruce Cohen voted yea.

Ward 2 — Ray Newman and Sue Newman voted yea. Paul R. Bergeron voted nay.

Ward 3 — Sherry Dutzy, Patricia Klee and Suzanne Vail voted yea.

Ward 4 — Fred Davis Jr., Manny Espitia and David Cote voted yea.

Ward 5 — Allison Nutting-Wong, Michael Pedersen and Dan Toomey voted yea.

Ward 6 — Mark King voted yea. Fran Nutter-Upham and Ken Gidge did not vote.

Ward 7 — Greg Indruk, Catherine Sofikitis and Deb Stevens voted yea.

Ward 8 — Skip Cleaver, Laura Damphousse Telerski and Latha Mangipudi voted yea.

Ward 9 — Marty Jack and Linda Harriott-Gathright and Michael O’Brien Sr. voted yea.