Gerard lauds Quinn's veto of state ban

Gerard lauds Quinn's veto of state ban

Legislation would have taken power away from city to regulate use of bags on its terms

CHAMPAIGN — Mayor Don Gerard on Sunday applauded Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of a bill that would have prevented Champaign from dealing with plastic bags on its own terms. Gerard said local officials can now resume discussions about limiting the use of the bags at stores within its borders.

Quinn on Sunday vetoed Senate Bill 3442, which would have prohibited manufacturers from selling plastic bags in Illinois unless that manufacturer is registered with the state and pays a fee to do so. The legislation also would have required manufacturers to submit a plan to support the collection and recycling of those bags.

But the bill contained another provision that city officials were more concerned with and would have removed local governments' authority to ban or place a fee on plastic bags. In March, a majority of Champaign City Council members said they wanted to explore doing exactly that.

Had Quinn signed the bill, it would have stopped that discussion in its tracks.

"I just thought it was egregiously out of line," Gerard said.

City officials had held off on that initiative while they waited to see what the governor would do. But if the votes in the two legislative houses stand — 38-15 in the Senate and 72-44 in the House — there would be enough support for the bill to override Quinn's veto.

If the veto stands, Gerard said it could be time to continue the discussions in the Champaign City Building of banning or placing a per-bag fee on plastic bags at checkout lines.

"I suppose it is time for us now to continue those discussions," Gerard said. "There was actually pretty substantial support to move forward with something, to do something."

City officials earlier this year presented the program to city council members as a way to deal with plastic bag litter throughout the city. By forcing retailers to charge a fee — something like 5 cents per bag — or by banning the use of plastic bags altogether, they said residents would use fewer bags when they check out at stores.

In March, six of nine Champaign City Council members wanted to continue exploring the issue.

Supporters of the state bill and opponents of the city's proposal say plastic bag bans or fees do not reduce litter and they cost customers more. Further, they said the state bill would encourage recycling.

But Gerard thinks the removal of local authority for cities and towns to decide what to do within their own borders was the golden nugget for the plastic-bag industry.

In July, he appeared in Chicago with 13-year-old Abby Goldberg of Grayslake to deliver a petition with more than 150,000 signatures of people who wanted Quinn to veto the bill.

Goldberg was trying to pass a plastic-bag ban in her hometown as part of a school project before the state Legislature passed the bill. Had Quinn signed it, her efforts in Grayslake would have been stonewalled.

Gerard said he believes the plastic bag industry was eager to put an end to plastic-bag bans that have been popping up across the country.

"I think it was really underhanded of the lobbyists," Gerard said.

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jdmac44 wrote on August 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

"Egregiously out of line", hmm, kind of like the city telling private businesses and individuals what kind of bags they can use or penalize them for the few inconsiderate ones who can't find a trash can?  Gubbamint can fix anything!

killerut wrote on August 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

Gerard is an idiot.  I don't know how he got elected. 


My way or the highway.  That's his motto.

Mark Taylor wrote on August 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

That's right, Killer. This should be handled at the STATE LEVEL!!!11! No more tyrannical local govermints overriding state control. The Springfield and Chicago lobbyists just know better than us hicks at the local level, right, Killer?

TEA PARTY!!!!11!

WOO HOO!!!!!1!

EL YATIRI wrote on August 27, 2012 at 9:08 am
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He got elected because the owner of Cochranes gave him $20 k to spend on the election campaign and he was able to outspend his opponent handily.

Mark Taylor wrote on August 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

That's right. I wish we had our old birther mayor back. But at least now Romney has come out as a birther, so it's not all bad.

EL YATIRI wrote on August 27, 2012 at 10:08 am
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OMG noooo, birther Schweighart is even worse than Gerard.

Do you think I'm a teatard?  I'm non partisan and independent and sick and tired of idealogues and partisans.

gamera wrote on August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Well, you are definitely misinformed since the Cochran family did not contribute money to Gerard's campaign. So yah...when you get one fact wrong, the others are suspect.

EL YATIRI wrote on August 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm
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I stand corrected.  Indeed it wasn't Cochrane's, it was Joe's Brewery.

billbtri5 wrote on August 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

CPD Plastic Bag Division  10-4

fedupwithit wrote on August 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This is absolutely laughable, the only reason the City of Champaign is even sticking its nose in this is because they say a potential revenue generator  going away. But hey it is fine when Champaign enacts this tax the Peoples Republic of Urbana will soon follow and I will do all of my shopping outside of those two nanny states. Good news for Savoy.

C in Champaign wrote on August 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

For politicians, local or otherwise, to say the palstic bag "fee" is about the environment, or the appearance of the community is an unfortunate half-truth at best. It is all about the revenue generated by forcing retailers to essentially sell bags for the city. It is a tax if ever there was one. If the city council was serious about the issue, and really believed there would be a positive impact on the environment, or appearance of the city, they would simply pass an outright ban. Would it really be so bad if we had to go back to paper bags? Of course the little bag carousel at the Walmart checkout lane might not work so well anymore...

For what it is worth, I see (and pick up around my business daily) far more cups, lids, and food wrappers from fast food restaurants blowing around in the wind than I see plastic trash bags. Why not a fee on those? Talk about a serious revenue generator!

Yocal wrote on August 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

It's all about the benjamins baby. If the City of Champaign is worried about litter, they obviously haven't been to campus lately. It's the dirtiest I've ever seen it, garbage everywhere on Green St. in particular. Lots of pizza boxes, maybe outlaw pizza next, huh mayor?

This is a money grab...and a total joke.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

The city must find revenues to cover the tax breaks offered to the new businesses, and relocated businesses.  There must be revenue to make up for future tax breaks like Gerard Field also.  Urbana will now be free to enact the same revenue producer.  Money will be available for more statues, and possibly round-abouts.  As the two communities expand into the rest of the county, new sources of revenue will need to be found.  A "pizza box tax" may not be so far fetched. 

debears wrote on August 31, 2012 at 7:08 am

We should look into doing what mexico city did with their garbage problem. I think it's brilliant!


Spence wrote on September 02, 2012 at 9:09 pm
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Quinn did the right thing...... for once.