The Baltimore City Council voted a 13-1 approval to ban on retailers’ use of plastic bags on Monday. The ban needs one more vote, at the council’s Nov. 18 meeting, to advance to the desk of Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. “I am extremely optimistic about its passage,” said Henry, adding that Young has pledged to sign the bill or allow it to take effect without his signature.

A ban on plastic bags has been introduced nine times since 2006 in Baltimore. The current legislation would forbid retailers from giving out plastic bags, and require them to charge a nickel for any other bag they supply to shoppers, including paper bags. It would apply to grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants and gas stations, although some types of products would be exempt, such as fresh fish, meat or produce, newspapers, dry cleaning and prescription drugs.

Retailers would keep 4 cents from the fee for each alternative bag they supply, such as a paper bag, with a penny going to city coffers. The bill would ban plastic bags with a thickness of less than four-thousandths of an inch. The amendment by Henry deleted language about bags that can be reused; Henry sought the change because he said some bag manufacturers claim even their thin bags can be reused. The amendment passed on an 8-5 vote.

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