Plastic bag fee held up over small-business concerns

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi failed on Tuesday to expand his plastic bag ban law and build on his legacy as a legislator.

Five years ago, Mirkarimi gained national attention for banning single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies. San Francisco was the first city in the nation to do so, but other cities have since followed suit and gone much further.

Sheriff-elect Mirkarimi is termed out of office Jan. 8 and will not be able to add to his record his proposed 10-cent per bag fee after the Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 to postpone the vote until at least Feb. 7.

Supervisor Jane Kim led the charge to postpone the vote, saying enough outreach had not been done.

Concerns over the law were building in Asian-American communities such as Chinatown and Clement Street.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said many merchants in his district were “freaked out about what this will mean in terms of changes that they will have to make in their day-to-day business.”

Mirkarimi had amended his legislation to address a number of concerns, but still couldn’t convince his colleagues to approve the legislation. Amendments included eliminating a provision that would have increased the fee to 25 cents in two years and postponing implementation from July to October.

It was the second time a vote on the legislation was postponed. Last time, concerns over the fee amount prompted a continuance.

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