State Sen. Mary Boren said she’s disappointed with passage of a bill preempting the ability of cities and towns to pass ordinances addressing plastic bags, cups and containers that litter public property and roadways. Senate Bill 1001 was approved by the full Senate on Wednesday. Boren, D-Norman, said the bill takes away the rights of local communities and their citizens to protect their environment and national resources.
“Take a walk in a public park, take a drive down a scenic road, or visit a local lake or pond and chances are you are going to see trash—plastic bags, and disposable cups and containers littering the scenery and posing a hazard to wildlife,” Boren said. “Under Senate Bill 1001, local governments would be prevented from attempting proactive solutions to stem this trash problem—it’s a bill that protects no one but the plastic manufacturers.”
Boren compared the bill to other preemptive legislation approved through the years, like laws preventing municipalities from setting restrictions on where oil and gas companies can drill or preventing cities from adopting anti-smoking ordinances that are stronger than state law.
“These kinds of pushes are driven by corporations trying to protect their interests. It’s not about protecting the rights of the citizens and local communities to decide what’s best for them,” Boren said. “The phrase ‘local control’ gets used a lot by politicians, but once again, we’ve seen deep corporate pockets lobby for legislation that undercuts that local control.”
Boren said she hoped citizens would join her in speaking out against SB 1001 as it moves through the House of Representatives.