Ken Paxton Asks Texas Supreme Court To Eliminate Local Plastic Bag Bans

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 20, 2017 12:23 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is apparently denying the mainstream scientific consensus on climate change. He says he does not believe man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global warming.

The U.S. Energy Secretary was asked on CNBC Monday if he believed the heat-trapping gasses are a main control knob for the climate.

“No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment we live in,” Perry said.

He did seem to acknowledge, however, that human activity plays a role in climate change.

Scientists around the world including those at NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the UN say carbon dioxide is the primary cause of climate change.

The Texas Attorney General has asked the state’s Supreme Court to toss out single-use bag bans across Texas.

Ken Paxton filed the brief at the end of last week.

The case revolves around a previous lower court ruling that overturned a bag ban in Laredo.

About 10 cities in Texas have passed local ordinances banning single-use plastic bags, including Austin, Fort Stockton and South Padre Island.

Texas Municipal League Executive Director Bennett Sandlin says cities should be allowed to govern themselves when it comes to this issue.

“In West Texas they ban bags because they get in cattle feeders, on the coast they ban them because they get in the surf and damage marine wildlife,” Sandlin says. “And then you’ll have hundreds of other cities that will never dream of banning bags, so that allows each geography to tailor its regulations to what its citizens want.”

In the brief, Paxton argued these local bag bans prevent Texas from enforcing its “statewide solution of waste disposal.”

But the Texas Campaign for the Environment’s Robin Schneider says the state isn’t doing enough when it comes promoting waste reduction. She says bag bans help.

“It’s been left to the cities to take the initiative when it comes recycling, composting and dealing with problem products like single-use bags,” Schneider says.

The Texas Supreme Court has yet to take up the case, and the soonest the state’s highest court would decide to do that is late August.

There’s a colorful new addition to a Houston neighborhood. A Montrose intersection is now home to the only rainbow crosswalk in Texas.

Only a few other cities in the U.S., such as San Francisco and Atlanta, have crosswalks painted in the colors of the rainbow.

Houston Public Media’s Gail Delaughter reports the new crosswalk highlights both pride and public safety:

Longtime Montrose resident Roy Green was one of those snapping photos of the new crosswalk – four strips of rainbow ribbon designed to get walkers and cyclists safely across the street.

“It’s all great, because it not only does it add pride and emotional value to the neighborhood, it adds physical value to the property in the neighborhood as well,” Green says.

Montrose has long been a center of Houston’s LGBT community.

The new crosswalk was funded by the group Pride Houston, not just to highlight the neighborhood’s history, but also to call attention to public safety.

The rainbow crosswalk was unveiled ahead of this coming weekend’s Pride parade. The event was held for many years in Montrose before it moved downtown.