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Florida lawmakers might ban cities from banning plastic straws

Posted at 9:28 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 09:42:36-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Straws, plastic bags... there’s been some big pushes to get rid of plastic in Southwest Florida; not only by business owners but lawmakers, too.

Now there’s another proposed bill - House Bill 603. Republican Lake County Rep. Anthony Sabatini, who introduced the bill, writes, “a municipality, county, or other local governmental entity may not adopt, enforce, or implement any ordinance, rule or law that would further restrict a food service establishment from distributing single-use plastic straws to a customer."

He went onto to tweet, Thursday - “The Decision to use a plastic straw or not should be made by the citizens - not the government.”

Doc Ford's, a restaurant near Fort Myers Beach, adopted the plastic straw ban last year when Fort Myers Beach leaders banned them from businesses. The family-owned restaurant didn’t need to adopt the ban because they’re actually not on Fort Myers Beach, but managers felt it was necessary.

“Why would we not want to participate and lead the example within our own community,” said Doc Ford's manager, Eric Munchel. “If you can ban it and make it so that it’s not available then no one’s really gonna miss it, in my opinion.”

But other people don’t agree with House Bill 603. Including Sanibel Sea School Executive Director, Bruce Neil. He was a part of the process to ban plastic straws in Sanibel. “I think some level of governmental regulation is needed to get citizens to act for the betterment of the community,” Neil.

Plus environmentalists like Tricia Fancher with Keep Lee County Beautiful doesn’t see any ban as an end all be all. “I do hope that people understand that straws are one very tiny piece of the problem, single-use plastics overall are the problem,” Fancher said.

If any bill on the table pertaining to straw bans is voted into law, it will become effective July 1st.