With less than one month before the November mid-term elections, lawmakers and governors remained busy with a flurry of action. Notably, New Jersey lawmakers are looking to tweak its plastic bag ban law, California plans on banning the plastic bags used at supermarkets in the produce section, and Florida lawmakers appropriated $360 million for Hurricane Ian response and recovery efforts.
Governor Kay Ivey announced over $19 million for improvements in almost 50 towns, cities, and counties.
Governor Newsom recently signed legislation which will force supermarkets, by January 1, 2025, to phase out single-use plastic produce bags, called pre-checkout bags, often used in the fruits and vegetables section.
State lawmakers are looking at extending the state’s current gas tax suspension, which is currently saving consumers 25 cents per gallon at the pump. The current suspension is set to expire November 30.
This week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation which will make college more affordable for students by providing thousands of dollars. Beginning in 2023, qualifying high school graduates can get up to $2,750 for community college, $4,000 for private college, or $5,500 for a public university.
Following NJ’s plastic bag ban becoming law earlier this year, lawmakers have introduced a bill recently to allow grocery delivery companies to use certain paper bags. The legislation would allow for a choice between single-use bag made with at least 40% recycled material, cardboard boxes, or reusable bags.
Lawmakers will not reconvene a special legislative session to try to override three spending bills which Governor Kevin Stitt recently vetoed. Instead, lawmakers will wait until next year to figure out how to spend the state’s remaining federal American Rescue Plan funds.
State lawmakers are trying to determine what next year’s legislative session will look like as COVID continues. In the next session, rapid COVID tests will no longer be free for the public and masking will be optional.