by Erica R. Williams, Special to The New Tri-State Defender
Plastic bags will still be used in grocery stores, despite some Memphis City Council members’ efforts to ban them. Tuesday, the council rejected an ordinance that would have required grocery stores to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.
“This is an effort for us to do something different in the State of Tennessee,” Councilman Berlin Boyd, who sponsored the ordinance, said before the vote.
Boyd has continued to push for the ban despite a recent state law barring cities from regulating single-use plastic such as grocery bags. He argues that using them is costing the city too much money.
“If we pass this here, it will give us the leverage to negotiate on a state level,” he told fellow council members.
Some have complained that lawmakers are considering the bans to cater to plastic-industry lobbyists. Boyd said that’s not it, pointing out that the city’s Division of Public Works spends $3 million each year to dispose of the bags.
Last year before proposing the ban, Boyd suggested a seven-cent fee on plastic bags that shoppers take from retail stores. He then reduced the proposed fee to five cents earlier this year.
In other action
* Memphis 3.0 was dropped from this council meeting’s agenda. Last month council members voted on hiring an outside consultant to review the comprehensive development plan. They will delay voting until after the consultant’s review of the plan.
The consultant has until September 17 to present findings.
The Memphis 3.0 plan had been challenged by New Chicago community members who believe the plan excludes some neighborhoods based on race. A $10 billion lawsuit filed against the city was later dismissed.
Mayor Jim Strickland has signed an executive order that allows parts of the 3.0 plan to move forward.
* Council members approved an honorary street name change for Bishop David Allen Hall Sr., longtime pastor of Temple Church of God In Christ at 672 S. Lauderdale. The resolution calls for a street name of East Georgia Ave. between South Lauderdale and South Orleans. Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson sponsored the resolution.
* The council delayed voting on the third and final reading of an ordinance that would present new rules for public art placement.