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As former Mayor Jim Kenney eight-year tenure as Mayor of Philadelphia came to a close, he left the future of single-use bag fee in Philadelphia uncertain.

By not signing the bill on his way out of office, Jim Kenney essentially killed the bill that would have required customers to purchase a single-use shopping bag for 15 cent.

Watch Jim Kenney parting message to Philly below!

What is a “Pocket Veto”?

A pocket veto, is a strategic plan to rid a legislative bill by the president or a governor — hanging onto the bill unsigned until it is too late for it to be dealt with during the legislative session. Former Mayor Kenney declined to sign the legislation by the end of his term, allowing it to expire without giving Council a chance to override a veto.

What is going to happen to the Plastic Bag Ban now?

It’s has not been made clear whether Mayor Cherelle Parker will be more supportive of the idea. However, supporters of the plan can only hope to be optimistic as Mayor Parker has framed quality of life issues like litter as major priorities.

Zero Waste Goal for Recyclables Recovery Process in Philadelphia, PA

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Advocates in favor of legislation argue a bag fee would reduce waste and litter in the city and encourage the use of reusable bags.

“If a person has to purchase a bag for 15 cents, they would actually think about it — ‘do I really want to spend 15 cents on … something that I’m going to throw away and not use again?” said Teea Tynes, a resident of the Fairhill neighborhood of North Philadelphia.

But Kenney’s committee pushed back. Arguing that this ban would be a bigger detriment to low-income households, forcing them outside of city limits to avoid additional costs, which would ultimately hurt the mom-and-pop shops in the city who have to abide by the rules.

“Adding a 15-cent fee per bag may ultimately push Philadelphians to shop outside of the city limits to avoid this added cost or push businesses outside of the city,” Télyse Masaoay, then a representative of Kenney’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion told the committee during a hearing.

There is still optimism amongst the proponents of the bag ban, as they like the odds in their favor, as they feel their values align with the newest member in charge, Mayor Cherelle Parker.

“We’re not, in no way, discouraged,” said Aminata Sandra Calhoun, a West Philly environmental justice advocate who leads cleanups for Centennial Parkside CDC and supports the single-use bag fee. “Whatever it takes to eliminate and reduce [litter] — I’m for it, one thousand percent.”

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