Victory | August 26 2012
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a bill in August 2012 that would have required plastic bag manufacturers to set up collection and recycling programs while preempting towns and cities from adopting bag ordinance, calling it a “roadblock” for local communities to make their own choices.
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SB 3442 by Illinois State Senator Terry Link thinly passed the state legislature in June then went to the Governor for consideration before the final approval or veto. Under the guise of a measure to increase plastic bag recycling (by .1%!), the bill prohibits local governments with populations smaller than 2 million (essentially every city but Chicago) from passing a bag ban. Plastic bag recycling has been proven ineffective and cities should be able to maintain local rights for a bag ban if the state is not ready to pursue one.
After pressure from the Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter, other environmental and community groups, along with an inspired pre-teen that gathered more that 174,000 signatures on her petition, Governor Quinn did the right thing for his state and the environment by vetoing the misguided bill. Illinois is now free to pursue meaningful plastic bag litter reductions while industry is free to pursue recycling initiatives. Congrats to all of the activists involved in this Coastal Victory.