Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a 5 cent fee on plastic bags, potentially paving the way for the state Legislature's push towards a ban on single-use plastic waste.
The Monday morning veto was among 22 other bills he struck down, and one of three subject to an “absolute veto,” meaning they won’t be sent back to the Legislature for potential revisions.
“While well-intentioned, the approach reflected in this bill strikes me as incomplete and insufficient,” Murphy wrote in an attached veto statement. “Instituting a five-cent fee on single-use bags that only applies to certain retailers does not go far enough to address the problems created by overreliance on plastic bags and other single-use carryout bags.”
Fee-based programs have been ineffective, Murphy said, due to “loopholes that undermine the ultimate purpose of the program.”
Last week, Senate Environment Chair Bob Smith, D-17th District, said the Legislature will likely move ahead with a bill that calls for a ban on Styrofoam and plastic bags and straws.
The Legislature will likely hold hearings in September and October on Assembly Bill 4330 and Senate Bill 2776, Smith added, which would prohibit restaurants and stores from providing plastic bags and straws as well as Styrofoam.
With Murphy’s absolute veto of the plastic bag fee, he “will be very sympathetic to the ban on single-use plastic waste,” Smith said.
Smith’s announcements came during testimony during a joint hearing between the Senate Environment and Assembly Environment and Solid Waste committees Thursday at Toms River Town Hall.