Senate Democrats gave preliminary approval to a bill that would ban single-use plastics and polystyrene food containers in Colorado. House Bill 1162 won final approval on a 20-14 party-line vote. But the bill has seen some pretty significant changes since it rolled into the Senate on May 10. That will require it to go back to the House for their take on those amendments.
As introduced, the bill would prohibit local governments from making their own decisions on whether to allow or ban those plastics, known as pre-emption. That’s been a sticking point on the issue for the past two sessions, and one that drew strong objections from cities and towns represented by the Colorado Municipal League. The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee amended the bill to strike pre-emption. That moved CML from opposition to amend to support. The committee also pushed out the implementation date by three years, to 2024.
That didn’t stop Senate Republicans from trying to change it further. Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, explained that liquor stores sell some beverages in small (less than 75 ml, or just over 2 ounces) containers. His amendment would have banned those containers as a way of dealing with alcohol addiction issues, but sponsor Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver, asked the Senate to reject it since she had not seen it prior to Tuesday. Small stores — those with fewer than three locations — also are now exempted from the bill, under an amendment offered by Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo.