SALEM — The Legislature will consider a statewide tax on plastic bags and a ban on plastic straws.
Democrats also plan to introduce a bill that would require gun owners to securely store their weapons using locks.
The 2019 legislative session begins in January.
Plastic bag tax
One bill would impose a 5 cent per bag tax on single-use plastic bags used by retail stores selling food or alcohol, and require the establishments to provide paper checkout bags. The tax wouldn’t apply to meat and vegetable bags, or other noncheckout bags. Customers who use vouchers and state benefit cards would be exempt.
Money collected would go to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, for a new Plastic Clean-Up and Recycling Fund.
The Legislature previously considered banning plastic bags, in 2010, 2011 and 2012; all three statewide bans died in committee, though 14 Oregon cities have banned single-use plastic bags.
This is the first time a tax, rather than a ban, has been proposed. Because the bill would raise revenue, it would require a three-fifths majority.
The second measure would prohibit restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws to customers unless they request a straw.
The proposal specifically exempts straws made from sugar cane, pasta and some other natural ingredients.
Violators could be fined up to $25 per day, with a cap of $300 per year.
A Senate committee voted to introduce separate preliminary bills for the straw and plastic bag efforts during an informational hearing Wednesday.
Under language in the firearms bill, gun owners who fail to securely store their guns could be fined as much as $500, or $2,000 if a child gets unauthorized access to the firearm, according to a summary of the proposal released by supporters. The proposal also would make it easier for shooting victims to sue for damages if the gun owner failed to secure the weapon, report the loss or theft of the gun in a timely manner or supervise a child using the gun.