Plastic straw ‘preemption' considered in senate

A Senate committee Monday will take up a proposal that would prevent local governments from regulating distribution of plastic straws, amid a broader national debate about discarded straws causing pollution problems in oceans and other areas.

The bill (SB 588), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, will be considered by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. It would give regulatory power over single-use plastic straws to the state --- a practice known as “preemption” of local government authority.

“A municipality, county, or other local governmental entity may not adopt, enforce, or implement any ordinance, rule, or law that would further restrict a food service establishment from distributing single-use plastic straws to customers,” the bill says.

The bill would restrict restaurants and other establishments to only providing single-use straws if the straws are requested by customers. But that restriction would not apply to such things as take-out orders, delivery orders and orders placed with apps.

An identical bill (HB 603) has been filed in the House by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, and Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills. The bills are filed for the legislative session that starts Tuesday.