White Plains, NY — Westchester County Legislator Lyndon Williams of Mount Vernon said that he shares the environmental concerns of legislators who on Monday introduced an initiative to ban plastic checkout bags in Westchester.  But, Williams said, he opposes any bag fee in the legislation.


“A bag fee would disproportionately burden the working poor,” Williams said. “The working poor are already fighting to make ends meet. The County should not burden them further with a bag fee.”


The Reusable Bag Initiative proposal introduced Monday by Legislators Kitley Covill of Katonah and Nancy Barr of Rye Brook would ban single-use plastic bags at checkout.  Under the proposal, retailers could only offer heavier-duty reusable plastic bags or recycled bags at a fee of no less that ten cents per bag.


Williams said the fee will not deter residents who are financially well off because they will just pay for the convenience and the bags will then end up in the waste stream.  He also questioned the sufficiency of exemptions in the law for WIC and SNAP recipients noting that many working poor people are not part of those programs.


“I want to support my colleagues’ effort on the environment but just not at the expense of those who can least afford to bear the burden of this fee,” said Williams.


He would rather the County consider an outright ban on plastic bags placing the burden on the manufacturers to find an appropriate substitute. He is also concerned that the bag fee is a windfall to the business owner who gets to keep the revenue rather than having the money go to remediate some of the bad environmental conditions in poor communities.


Williams said “I urge my colleagues to come to a solution that is workable for everyone.”

 

White Plains, NY — As people around the globe observe Earth Day this weekend, Westchester County Legislators Kitley Covill and Nancy Barr are putting their environmental principles into action at home: They are proposing legislation to encourage the use of reusable bags and keep single-use plastic checkout bags out of the County’s streets, landfills and waterways.

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County Executive George Latimer delivered his first State of the County Address on Monday night, and it was an historic occasion as the speech returned to the Chambers of the Board of Legislators after a six-year absence.

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White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators Monday night passed a measure to combat gender pay inequity and also to help job seekers who may have been downsized or may be returning to work after a long hiatus.

White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators marked Women's History Month on Monday night, celebrating four women for their contributions to the county, the state and the country.