Plastic bag ban proposed in NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Two Democratic state lawmakers from Manhattan are proposing a statewide ban on the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag and a fee on paper bags.

Sens. Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman said Monday that their legislation is meant to encourage the use of reusable bags.

New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags each year, with many ending up in landfills or state waterways.

More than a dozen local communities in New York state have adopted bans or fees, but a 5-cent fee approved in New York City was blocked by officials in Albany last year.  At the time, state lawmakers lashed out at Mayor Bill de Blasio, dismissing it as a burden on poor and middle-class residents.

Retailers could set the fee on paper bags at between 10 and 25 cents. Food carryout bags would be excluded, and people using food stamps or other food assistance benefits wouldn't pay the fee.

No vote has been scheduled.