Freshman Rep. Drew Springer likes meddling in other people’s business.
Austin’s recycling director urged the Legislature on Wednesday night to allow the city’s plastic bag ordinance to continue without state interference.
Bob Gedert, director of Austin Resource Recovery, told the House Committee on Urban Affairs that he had visited 300 store managers in the past three weeks and that the ban on using the bags is going smoothly.
“They are adapting very well,” Gedert said.
The committee heard testimony on House Bill 2416 that the author, state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, calls the “Shopping Bag Freedom Act” because it would outlaw bag bans such as the one passed by the Austin City Council.
“This is a decision by a local community,” Gedert said. “Please respect that.”
What business is it of the Legislature, you may wonder, to tell the city of Austin – or any of the other Texas cities that have passed bag bans – that they cannot deal with their litter problem in this fashion? Why, it’s all about your God-given freedom to clog your city’s drainage system. The Observer explains.
You’ve probably heard about Rep. Drew Springer’s ”Shopping Bag Freedom Act” by now. Springer’s proposal to outlaw local plastic shopping bag bans has gotten plenty of attention in Texas and from national media.
Springer filed his bill days after Austin began banning plastic shopping bags earlier this month, following the environmentalist lead of cities like San Francisco. Tonight, Springer had a chance to sell his bill to the House Urban Affairs Committee. If we let cities ban plastic bags, he wondered, what else might they do away with?
In a conversation with the Observer before the hearing, the Republican freshman from Muenster said he thinks the government has “crossed the line” of what local control should allow.
“The city, I believe, has overstepped their role and my bill brings in freedoms back to the individuals to make that choice with their merchant,” he said. “So it actually creates freedom, rather than imposing more on people.”
See? He’s manufacturing freedom! Just try to outsource that.
I have enough of a problem with legislators meddling in the affairs of their own hometowns. Messing with other cities just flabbergasts me. What’s it to Rep. Springer how Austin conducts its business? And as BOR and I have noted, it’s not just Austin, as Rep. Springer wants to deny Plfugerville ISD the right to extend domestic partner benefits to its employees. Last I checked, the people of Austin and Pflugerville elected the representatives who made those decisions. They’re free to replace them with representatives who will reverse those decisions if they want to. Pflugerville ISD arguably violated state law, though that will hopefully be mooted by SCOTUS, but Austin did nothing provocative. Why is this any of Rep. Drew Springer’s concern?
One more thing:
John Horton, a University of Texas student and chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas, testified for Springer’s bill.
“When you start to ban stuff, it creates a slippery slope,” he said. “What are we going to ban next?”
Well, let’s see, there’s abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood, sex education, three-term Governors, ethnic history courses, federal gun control laws…I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. Are you and I watching the same session, John?