Bernalillo Co. Commission approves plastic ban, postpones vote on sick leave ordinance | KOB 4

Bernalillo Co. Commission approves plastic ban, postpones vote on sick leave ordinance

Kai Porter
June 25, 2019 10:11 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Bernalillo County Commission meeting was packed Tuesday with people wanting to weigh in on a proposed ban on plastic bags and sick leave ordinance.


The commission approved a ban on plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. However, they postponed a vote on the sick leave ordiance.

The original ordinance would have required businesses with two or more employees in unincorporated areas of the county provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 56 hours. But county commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins decided to introduce a new ordinance that includes some changes to the original measure.

Business owners worry the new ordinance would impact their bottom line.

"Our business is supposed to withstand this. It's really tough,” said Dan Garcia, who owns Garcia’s Kitchen. “If they would take it in a little stride maybe two days to start the first year, maybe go to three days in a little bit, I think it would be a more affordable for people."

County commissioners will hold another public hearing on the new ordinance in August.

Meanwhile plastic bags and Styrofoam containers will be banned in unincorporated areas of the county starting on Jan. 1, 2020.

Commissioners voted 3-1 to pass the ordinance. Supporters say it will cut down on plastic and Styrofoam pollution. 

"I think from cradle to grave plastics are really hurting people’s health,” said Anni Hanna, who supports the ban. “Even the extraction of oil from the ground to make plastics is another big thing. I think we need to transition to fossil free." 

But others, like restaurant owners, say plastic and Styrofoam are necessary for food safety and preparation.

"Paper just doesn't work for us because if liquid gets in there and the food can fall through,” Garcia said. “They have biodegradable plastic bags that could be affordable and that's what we're looking at right now.”


Kai Porter

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