Weeks after the Texas Supreme Court ruled against a ban on single-use plastic bags in the City of Laredo, cities across Texas with similar provisions have stopped enforcing their own bag bans and begun the process of rescinding the unconstitutional ordinances.
Notably, the City of Austin, a statewide leader on the liberal policy, backed down last week, stating, “Following the recent ruling from the Texas Supreme Court, the City will not enforce our current rules.”
Citizens of Austin reported receiving plastic bags once again at grocery stores in the city limits during throughout the Independence Day week, with some calling it an apt celebration of the end of a tyrannical policy imposed by the local government.
Meanwhile, other cities, including Port Aransas and Sunset Valley, have also announced that they will no longer be enforcing their bans, and will be taking action to officially repeal the ordinances. Some, like Brownsville and Corpus Christi, have said they need time to review the ordinance before deciding how to move forward.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has made clear that the only legal path forward for cities with existing bag bans is to stop enforcement and begin repeal.
Last week, Paxton sent a letter to eleven cities cited in the case informing them that, according to the court’s ruling, the bans are now “unenforceable,” adding that “while we all have a right to engage in the legislative process to mold and shape the course of Texas law, we are all equally required to comply with the law.”
The letter was sent to city officials in Austin, Sunset Valley, Port Aransas, Laguna Vista, Fort Stockton, Eagle Pass, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Kermit, Freer, and South Padre Island.
According to Laguna Vista Mayor Susie Houston, the town repealed their bag ban in February 2017.
Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb responded to an inquiry from Texas Scorecard, stating, because their ordinance applies only to city property, that there were no plans to repeal the ordinance, though he noted that he was not aware of any enforcement efforts being made.
Cities who fail to voluntarily comply with the court’s ruling should expect legal challenges to their ordinances.
Texas Scorecard has reached out to cities that have not commented on their response to Paxton’s letter and will update this article accordingly.