I urge the Newport City Council and the voters to proceed carefully with the proposed plastic bag ban. As a past mayor who has been down this path, there can be unintended consequences to communities who choose to impose such a ban. I am not saying it isn’t the right thing to do, I agree with the advocates but in my experience few share that opinion. I suggest that the city poll the merchants to get their input. Careful consideration should be made over what happens if a good number of shoppers take offense at government forcing unneeded (in their minds) regulations on them and choose to shop in other cities where a ban is not in place. Consider whether summer visitors will go elsewhere rather than comply, considering it too much of an inconvenience.
Voting for a ban is a vote for the environment and an exemplary act but how many would still think so if their job was on the line, the loss of which would make it difficult to support their family? There are those who will answer the question by saying that sacrifices are needed to protect the environment but that is easy to say as long as they aren’t the one making the sacrifice.
Think it through carefully before proceeding. Do your homework. Once you embark on this path and the economic life of the community should happen to be negatively affected, there will be no turning back. It will be too late and all will pay the consequences.