© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Texas Environmental Groups Take Issue With Lawmaker Request For AG Opinion On Bag Bans

An environmental group says a trade association fighting plastic bag bans in Texas is attempting to use legal and judicial activism to prevail where their previous lawsuit regarding the issue failed.

The Texas Campaign for the Environment saidno harm has come to businesses in cities with bag bans.

Late last week, state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Canton, filed for an opinion from Texas attorney general's office on behalf of the Texas Retailer’s Association regarding the legality of city’s bans on plastic shopping bags.  

That has prompted Andrew Dobbs with the Texas Campaign for the Environment to weigh in on the issue. Dobbs said the Texas Retailer’s Association used the same sections of the Texas Health and Safety Code used in their request as they did in a 2012 lawsuit against the City of Austin’s bag ban.

"The lawsuit wasn’t going anywhere and they weren’t going to prevail, so now they are attempting to use legal activism and judicial activism to try and work their way around," Dobbs said.

Dobbs said both sides of the political aisle have shown support for bag bans and that the law is pretty clear on the issue.

"It was passed long before anyone was proposing single-use bag ordinances so if you were to maintain a strict constructionist view on these things you would say it doesn’t ban it," Dobbs said. "And finally I would say that even if he does come out and say that the law says something that it doesn’t, attorney general opinions don’t have the force of law.”

Dobbs said there have been many instances where the City of San Antonio, as well as other municipalities, have turned their backs on an attorney general opinion for the greater good of their local government.