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Issaquah, Wash., voters to decide fate of plastic bag ban

By: Jeremy Carroll

November 1, 2013

Voters in Issaquah, Wash., will have an opportunity to repeal the city’s plastic bag ban in early 2014.

The vote comes after Save Our Choice, a group opposing the measure, filed a petition with Issaquah’s City Council asking for a full repeal of the measure, which bans plastic bags and puts a 5-cent fee on paper bags. The City Council unanimously voted to hold the special election on Feb. 11, according to online video of the meeting.

The opposition group filed 2,626 valid signatures to force the vote, 77 more than were needed. The City Council could have decided to simply repeal the ordinance, but opted for the referendum.

According to an analyst provided to the legislative body, the special election will cost the city between $45,000 and $49,800.

Officials in Issaquah, located 17 miles east of Seattle, passed the plastic bag ban in 2012 and the law is being introduced in phases. Currently only larger retailers are impacted by the law, with regulation for stores 7,500 square feet or smaller going into effect March 1. City Council members discussed the possibility of delaying the implementation of the law to smaller stores since the measure will be in limbo until after the election in early February, just weeks before it would take effect.

Voters in Homer, Alaska, recently repealed a plastic bag ban through a similar voter referendum.