Setting up what surely will be his next fracas with the Anchorage Assembly, Mayor Dave Bronson will ask that august body to extend its ban on enforcement of an ordinance barring use or distribution of single-use plastic bags by retailers in the city.
A city ordinance now bars sellers from providing or distributing single-use plastic shopping bags and to charge a fee for alternative bags. The Assembly in February suspended its enforcement until Aug. 31. Bronson wants extend that suspension until May 1.
The mayor said supply chain shortages, delays and increased COVID-19 case counts are among the reasons the enforcement moratorium should be extended.
“This suspension would also allow retailers to use their existing stock of plastic bags, provide time for businesses to restock their supplies of reusable or paper bags, and continue to limit contact between employees and customers for those wishing to do so,” Bronson said. “While I generally disagree with the underlying policy banning the distribution of plastic bags, I think we can all agree that a temporary moratorium on this policy is the right approach.”
The single-use plastic bag ban went into effect Sept. 15, 2019, after a 9-2 Assembly vote, forcing retailers to provide paper bags on request, charge customers 10 cents each for them and then, for whatever reason, ordered businesses to put that on the receipt. It was the Nanny State run amok.
Even more irritating: During an Assembly work session before the vote an ordinance sponsor said the 10-cent fee was designed to “coerce people to change their behavior.”
Former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, in the face of the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily suspended the fee.
You might think exploding COVID-19 numbers and old fashioned common sense would require extension of the city’s moratorium on enforcement of its plastic bag ban simply as a matter of course. With this Assembly, at war with the Bronson administration and determined to overturn the last election, there are no guarantees.
Bronson’s ordinance is slated to be introduced at the Sept. 14 Anchorage Assembly meeting.