Roberts: Bisbee to state of Arizona: butt out

A busybody legislator from Gilbert is all up in Bisbee's business. This, because the rebel city continues to ban plastic

At long last, Arizona’s problems are solved.

Arizona’s children are being properly educated, Arizona’s inmates are being properly rehabilitated and Arizona’s citizens properly marvel at the efficient use of their tax money by state government.

Clearly, the state of Arizona has no real problems. How else can you explain our leaders’ obsession with protecting …

Plastic bags?

It seems the city of Bisbee has refused to kowtow to the state’s 2016 decree that henceforth, no city may interfere with a plastic grocery bag’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of littering the landscape.

The Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey banned cities from regulating the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam cups and such. This, after the city of Bisbee barred local stores from using single-use plastic bags.

Since passing the ordinance in 2013, Bisbee leaders contend that their streets are cleaner and costs lower, both for retailers and the city, which no longer has to mount weekly clean-up patrols.

That, however, matters not to state Sen. Warren Petersen, who lives in 200 miles from Bisbee. The Gilbert Republican is the guy who pushed to protect plastic bags, contending that a ban is a burden on local businesses.

Now he has filed a complaint with the Attorney General Mark Brnovich, demanding that Bisbee be made to call off its rebellion against plastic bags.

Or else.

Brnovich ordered to investigate

Brnovich has no choice but to drop everything and immediately investigate – thanks to another 2016 law, one that requires the AG to hop to it anytime any legislator complains that a city isn’t following a state law. The penalty: a loss of that city’s share of state tax revenue.

On Tuesday, Bisbee’s city attorney, Britt Hanson, responded to Petersen’s complaint, saying the state should butt out.

"If the businesses in Bisbee that the Legislature is supposedly protecting with HB 2131 have no issue with the bag ban, does the state really have an interest in prohibiting Bisbee from doing so?'' he asked, in a letter to the Attorney General’s Office. "And really, who should decide how best to combat Bisbee's blight and litter: the citizens of Bisbee and their representatives, or state legislators most of whom probably have never even visited Bisbee and have no clue as to its local concerns?''

Bag ban actually saves money

Hanson says that local  businesses have “embraced” the ban on plastic bags, which is saving both them and the city money.

"In fact, Bisbee’s largest retailer, Safeway, provided the City with the model ordinance on which Bisbee based its plastic bag ban ordinance," Hanson wrote.

Brnovich has 30 days to decide whether Bisbee is breaking the law. If so and the cit continues in its rebel activities, it’ll pay … big.

That is, unless the courts reread the state Constitution, the part that gives charter cities independence from state laws on matters of "strictly local concerns."

Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court backed a busybody legislator from Oro Valley who complained that Tucson was still melting down confiscated guns – even after the Legislature passed a law forbidding such a horror.

The Supreme Court ruled that state law trumped charter cities when it comes to issues of public safety. Now Tucson must get those guns back onto the streets.

We are saved.

Now if we can only get plastic bags back onto the streets. Or more specifically, snagged onto the bushes along Bisbee’s streets.

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Article Roberts: Bisbee to state of Arizona: butt out compiled by www.azcentral.com

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