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Bisbee to change disposable bag ordinance to duck budget hit

plastic shopping bags 620Bisbee plans to avoid a possible big budget hit by making voluntary the city’s ordinance that now prohibits retailers from providing shoppers with disposable plastic bags.

The City Council’s decision late Monday responds to state Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s recent conclusion that Bisbee’s ban violates an Arizona law barring local governments from imposing regulatory mandates on disposable bags.

Bisbee faced losing state funds if it didn’t resolve the violation, and City Attorney Britt Hanson says the loss of $1.8 million of state-shared revenue “would be a death sentence for the city.”

Hanson says the revised ordinance will include a provision to reinstate the mandatory ban if a court rules it’s legal. He says the council hasn’t decided whether to go to court to seek such a ruling.

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