NY Senate Leader Won’t Allow Law Banning Bags

NEW YORK -

New York will not be banning the bag anytime soon.

John Flanagan, the Republican leader of the state Senate, said Wednesday that he will not support a statewide prohibition on plastic and paper shopping bags, despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcing a panel to consider the measure.

As one of the three men in Albany who must OK all bills, Flanagan’s opposition means that an outright ban is likely off the agenda for the next few years.

He criticized as overly broad New York City’s five-cent bag fee, which had been supposed to go into effect last week before the state legislature struck it down.

“It’s not simply a ban on plastic bags; it was plastic bags, it was paper bags, it was a five-cent charge that was going to the retailer,” he said. “It wasn’t even going to something that could be described as laudable for the environment.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday night that he was considering an outright ban on bags after the state blocked the bag fee. Councilman Brad Lander, who had sponsored the bag fee law, has said that bans have not been effective elsewhere.

State Sen. Felix Ortiz, a Democrat representing parts of Boro Park, has already introduced a bill to ban bags across New York. But Flanagan told reporters in Albany that he would even like to see an existing ban in his home territory in Suffolk County repealed.