Well, this is an unusual story. It’s not every day that you see a Republican politician take preemptive action to stop the left from imposing their nanny-state laws and ordinances on the citizenry.
But that’s exactly what Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt did this week when he signed a bill that would forbid his state’s cities and towns from imposing fees on the use of plastic and paper bags. Not only will the new law block the city of Norman from levying a 5-cent tax on anyone who uses the forbidden bags, it will also block any other city in the state from implementing taxes on the single-use bags that so many people find convenient at the grocery store and elsewhere.
The mayor-elect of Norman, Breea Clark, was unhappy with Stitt’s decision to sign the bill, which she says is a sign of disrespect for local government control.
“At least he didn’t sign it on Earth Day,” tweeted Clark.
The bill was widely supported among voters who wanted to see uniformity across the state as it pertained to the use of such materials. It was also supported, naturally, by retailers, restaurants, and bag manufacturers who argued that fines and fees would only increase the cost of groceries. On the other hand, opponents of the bill claimed that such a measure would only increase litter in Oklahoma and put handcuffs on local officials who are trying to clean up their cities.
But really, how much do those arguments really count? We’re sure Oklahoma already imposes stiff fines for littering, so if those haven’t done the job, why would this make any difference? The more important factor is that it once again tries to take choice out of the hands of the American people. You can whine all you want about “local government control,” but maybe if those local governments are getting too heavy-handed with the “control” part, it’s a good thing for the state legislature to step in. Americans really don’t like being told what to do and what they can use unless you have a very good reason for it. We see no such reason here. Just more liberal environmental hysteria.
Fighting litter is a great cause, but there’s no substitute for creating a culture where people are discouraged from doing it. Not because there’s some law against plastic bags but because it’s just socially unacceptable. Putting fees on plastic bags or banning straws? These ham-fisted methods only inspire people to rebel. First thing you know, people who have never littered are dumping their McDonalds bags in the ditch just for the spite of it.
Good for Gov. Stitt and the Oklahoma State Legislature. It’s about time Republicans stood up to this creeping nanny-statery.