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Minneapolis City Council calls timeout on 'Bring Your Own Bag' law

It would make you pay 5 cents extra for paper or plastic bags.

Despite looking like it would sail through the Minneapolis City Council, the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance is officially on hold. 

The council was supposed to take a vote on the proposed law Friday morning, but postponed the vote instead.

The ordinance would tack a a 5-cent fee on both paper and plastic bags. In other words, if it eventually passes, you'll pay an extra 5 cents if you're at the grocery store and didn't bring your own reusable bag.

Friday's vote was instead tabled and referred back to staff for more review, with the Star Tribune reporting there were concerns from both "residents and retailers about the fee." (You can read public comments here.)

City staff, the paper says, will use the postponement to gather more input and figure out some of the finer details of how the proposed ordinance would work.

The main argument against the law is that it would create unfair complications for both business and costumers.

Despite that, the city council's health and environment committee gave the ordinance unanimous preliminary approval last week. 

But even if the Bring Your Own Bag law ultimately passes, it's arguably a heavily watered-down version of what the city originally wanted.

Last year, the council passed an outright ban on plastic bags altogether, and it was supposed to go into effect in June. But state-level politics intervened before that could happen: in May, a Republican-backed budget bill signed into law by Go. Mark Dayton contained a line saying cities can't ban stores from using specific bags.

The fine print 

There would be some exceptions to the new rule, however (if it's ever approved as-is).

Bags without handles that are used to carry bulk items (like fruits and vegetables) would be exempt from the fee, as would any "carry out" bags used at restaurants.

Other exemptions include packages of dog poop bags, dry cleaning bags, and any situation where there isn't an actual transaction taking place (like at a food bank). And people who use food assistance programs like WIC wouldn't have to pay the fee.

In the meantime, if you want some tips on how to dispose of all those plastic bags stuffed in your kitchen drawers, click here

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