Tuesday, November 19, 2019

In the News: legislation on plastic bag ban and distracted driving maybe on Governor's desk this week

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"The Massachusetts Senate is now scheduled to vote on not one, but two consumer product bans on Wednesday in its final formal session of the year.

The chamber teed up legislation Monday that would forbid retail businesses from providing customers with single-use plastic bags, placing it on an agenda that already includes a House-approved bill banning flavored tobacco products and imposing a 75 percent tax on e-cigarettes.

Under the bill (S 459), stores in most cases could only offer recyclable paper bags or reusable bags for a fee of at least 10 cents at the point of sale. Retail establishments would be required to remit 5 cents for each paper bag sold to the state, which would in turn be directed to communities to fund bag ban enforcement, recycling promotion, waste reduction and other local environmental efforts."

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"Nine years after the state implemented a difficult-to-enforce ban on texting while driving, five months after legislative negotiators began the latest attempt to take phones out of drivers’ hands, and three and a half months after their original agreement collapsed, lawmakers Monday queued up a compromise bill that could reach the governor’s desk as soon as this week.

The legislation, filed with support from all six members of a conference committee tasked with resolving differences between the original House and Senate versions, would forbid the use of all handheld electronic devices behind the wheel, except for those in hands-free mode. Drivers could view electronic maps on a device mounted to the windshield, dashboard or center console, but they could not use their hands to interact with any electronic beyond a single touch or tap to active hands-free mode.

Motorists who violate the new regulation would face fines between $100 and $500, and third and subsequent offenses would be surchargeable for insurance purposes."

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