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Voters to decide on plastic bag ban

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer
City of Homer

Homer voters will weigh in on whether to prohibit retailers from providing thin plastic bags during the city’s 2019 municipal election. Homer City Council Member Caroline Venuti sponsored a resolution to ban thin-single-use plastic bags last month, but later proposed Monday to let voters decide.

In 2012, the Homer City Council passed a plastic bag ban. It was in place for less than a year before a citizen’s initiative repealed it.

During Monday’s meeting, about a dozen residents spoke out on the issue. Nearly all spoke in favor of a ban and some residents urged the council to pass the ban that night. Some warned that waiting a year to put this measure on the ballot was too late.

But council members strayed from holding a vote on the ban.

“The feedback that I've got from many people is that they have spoken on this, and I that they need to be given the opportunity to speak on it again,” said Council Member Shelly Erickson. “I think that’s  really important.”

Erickson first said that she would like to postpone the ordinance and look at the bigger issue of how to handle trash and pollution in Homer, but she ultimately voted in favor of putting the measure on the ballot.

Council Member Heath Smith stuck to his previous position that residents in favor of the ban should get the issue on the ballot via another citizens’ initiative.

“I honestly think that if the voice of the people is to be repealed, it should be by the voice of the people," he said.  "It should not be by six people that thought they got it right before." 

The council approved putting the measure on the ballot in a 4-2 vote with council members Smith and Tom Stroozas voting against the move. The bag ban will appear on the Oct. 1 ballot in 2019. 

Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.
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