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A ban on bans? Florida bill could stop cities like St. Petersburg from banning plastic straws

The Florida State Senate is set to discuss Senate Bill 588, a measure that would prevent local state entities from putting restrictive bans on restaurants over single-use plastics.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg restaurant goers have started to see plastic straws disappear from their drinks.

In December, the St. Petersburg City Council approved a ban of single-use plastic straws by food service establishments. The ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020. This year, St. Petersburg restaurants can only provide plastic straws to customers upon request.

Now, Florida lawmakers could be putting the brakes on that. 

State Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, filed Senate Bill 588. It would prohibit a local government entity from restricting a food service establishment when it comes to single-use plastics.

Related: Florida bills try to stop cities from banning plastic straws

If the bill is passed, then individual cities, like St. Petersburg, could not implement plastic bans. The state government would have to decide if the entire state wanted to say goodbye to single-use plastic.

For now, if St. Petersburg restaurants violate the city ordinance and continue to hand out plastic straws, the city will issue written warnings starting April 1.

The movement to get rid of single-use plastic had already picked up some steam before the official city ban because of grassroots efforts among activists in St. Petersburg.

SB 588 is set to be discussed Monday.

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