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Silencing Home Rule: Sen. Travis Hutson’s Wrong Way On Single-Use Plastic Straws

| March 4, 2019

Last Straw. (Nicolas Monnet)

Last Straw. (Nicolas Monnet)

Note: The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee at 1 p.m. today considers the proposal (SB 588), filed by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, that would prevent cities and counties from regulating how restaurants and other establishments distribute plastic straws to customers.

Our state Sen. Travis Hutson has introduced a bill in the Florida Senate that would prohibit local governments from banning single use, plastic straws.  A competing bill introduced by Sen. Kevin Rader would prevent grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses that sell food from using plastic carryout bags and providing single-use plastic straws.


Sen. Hutson’s plastic straw bill (SB 588) presents particularly clear and present harm to voters in St. John’s, Flagler and Volusia Counties. The fact that the bill prohibits local governments from banning plastic straws will allow a serious and completely unnecessary pollutant to continue to injure our sea life, litter our beaches and infiltrate our land and water.

Our counties are home to some of the last few clean natural areas in Florida.  Multiple marine and estuarine biology research and rescue institutions reside here.  We are home to a thriving fishing industry and depend on tourism.  We have no red tide.  Our beaches are usually clean.  We have spent countless hours and dollars to protect our sea turtle nests.

To see how plastic debris in the ocean affects sea turtles, watch the removal of a plastic straw from the nose of a sea turtle: click on this link. The Internet offers similar videos with other plastic utensils.

Voters must have the ability to ban plastic straws on a local level if the state will not act to do so.  The environment is a bi-partisan issue, as demonstrated by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ support for water clean up and Congress’ recent land conservation bill.

Individual liberty to use or provide plastic straws is the reason for the bill given by the sponsor of the companion House Bill 603, Rep. Anthony Sabatini. This confuses individual liberty with a right to harm the environment with garbage.  We all know no such right exists.

Indeed, the ability to regulate plastic garbage if state government does not take care of the pollution is also a Home Rule issue.  For several years, Florida legislation has been treading on the rights of counties and municipalities to self-govern in the absence of state or federal law. It continues to do so.  One other example is the repeated introduction of legislation barring locales from prohibiting short-term rentals.

Impinging on local Home Rule is contrary to fundamental Republican principles of federalism. “The government closest to the people serves the people best,” said Thomas Jefferson.

For these reasons, the Democratic Women’s Club of Flagler Count urges you to withdraw your bill.  We support a state ban that would prevent grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses that sell food from using plastic carryout bags and providing single-use plastic straws in SB 502 introduced by Sen. Kevin Rader.  But if no state ban passes, voters should have the liberty to ban them on a local government level.

–Democratic Women’s Club of Flagler County

The Democratic Women’s Club of Flagler County is represented by President Barbara Murphy, Vice President Teldra Jones, Second Vice President Agnes Lightfoot,  Secretary Debra Brogan, Treasurer Joan Buback, Legislative Liaison Myra Smith, and Correspondence Secretary Joanne Reuter.

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18 Responses for “Silencing Home Rule: Sen. Travis Hutson’s Wrong Way On Single-Use Plastic Straws”

  1. gmath55 says:

    WOW! You worried about straws? LOL But needles are ok!

    San Francisco Bans Plastic Straws But Still Hands Out 4.5 Million Needles Per Year!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWeGnmVvxE

    Survey finds trash, needles, feces on San Francisco streets.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGpEkS8XNxE

    Democrats need to get their priorities right.

  2. Dave says:

    What kind of backwards bumpkin logic is this!? Most people I know have already started using their own reusable straws ,meanwhile this goofy senator wants to make sure everyone keeps producing plastic waste. Atleast in places like California they give you a choice, if you want a straw you ask but they dont just hand them out willy nilly.And I don’t know how far in the dark ages Florida is trying to go but plastic bag use at supermarkets still isnt regulated whwm they should be charging 10 cents a bag for reusable bags. C’mon people,let’s get with it!

  3. Ashley says:

    Single use plastics and Styrofoam products are a thing of the past and have proven to be detrimental to society. The fact that republicans want to fight democrats on this is insane! Banning single use plastics doesn’t affect their precious capitalistic views, it doesn’t stop them from fighting for their partial big beautiful wall fence, it doesn’t take their semi automatic guns away, it doesn’t affect their religious beliefs that they somehow believe they stand by, it doesn’t affect their desire to take funding away from public education…What the single use plastics ban actually does is it helps lower the harmful effects that single use plastics have on the environment. If republicans love this country so much (…Make America Great Again?) why wouldn’t they want to support this effort to curb pollution? Every step taken to clean up this Earth counts.This is blatant childish behavior, but somehow, republicans will find a way. Here come hateful comments with unnecessary capitalized words form republicans (grabs popcorn).

  4. KJ says:

    I get a kick out of the hypocrisy of Republicans, they support state’s rights vs those of the Federal Govt (and one would think local rights over state rights) on the basis that local government knows best UNTIL that local government rules in favor of something they don’t agree with, be it environmental issues or anything else.

  5. tulip says:

    I bet that there are more plastic straws and bags thrown into the ocean by cruise ships and other boats than people could toss into the ocean. Why not make drinking straws from some kind of biodegradable product that would dissolve in water after 2 hours of being wet, whether the straw be in a container full of liquid or floating in the ocean or canals or whatever. I bet even carry home bags could be made from something that would biodegrade after a certain amount of time also.

  6. Merrill Shapiro says:

    Why doesn’t Travis Hutson trust the judgement of the Flagler County Commission? Why doesn’t Travis Hutson trust the judgement of the Bunnell City Commission? Why doesn’t Travis Hutson trust the judgement of the Palm Coast City Council? Why doesn’t Travis Hutson trust the judgement of the Flagler Beach City Council? Is he worried these bodies might act in a way that is not in their constituents’ best interest?

  7. Jim says:

    Dave What world do you live in that most people you know use reusable plastic straws- I have never met one person yet Why not enforce our littering laws to the fullest with hefty fines. As far as trusting any city commission to do what is best for the majority is a pipe dream. They all have their personal agenda.

  8. mark101 says:

    So they want to get rid of plastic straws but its ok for all the stores to put your “stuff” in plastic bags.

  9. who'd a thought says:

    Unfortunately too many people vote party line without looking at the individual. This jack ass has voted against the best interest of Flagler County time and time again. He has done more damage than any hurricane. Vote him out.

  10. deb says:

    But even a national ban wouldn’t dent worldwide plastic output. Nor does any serious research justify targeting straws: The oft-cited figure that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day comes from a survey conducted by a 9-year-old. t’s not just the straws, but the plastic bags, red Solo cups and so on. The green conceit is that plastic is bad — even if alternate materials really don’t net out as more enviro-friendly. Remember the paper straws, they because soggy and you had to get another. But paper product cause pollution and reduce water. The pulp and paper industry is a big contributor to the problem of deforestation and is partly to blame for the … All of this contributes to soil and water pollution. … To produce 1 ton of virgin paper, it is estimated that 253 gallons of petrol is used. . So Paper or Plastic.

  11. Me says:

    Plastic is destroying our environment. I request paper products when I purchase my groceries. Anyone that throws trash in our beautiful ocean or beaches, if caught should be issued a summons.

  12. atilla says:

    With corruption in the county government, kids with guns in school, suicides panhandlers etc,etc,ect. STRAWS, STRAWS? you got to be kidding. You politicians have to get your heads out of your butts and start doing something to improve our community,

  13. Anonymous says:

    Most people reuse the plastic store bags for trash bins and other uses, so if you ban those, all that would be is a gift to the trash bag industry.

  14. Mark says:

    Don’t we have more important things to fix? How about a $1000 fine and a year in jail for throwing anything into the ocean. Put serial numbers on everything so we know who owns it. Problem solved!

  15. Agkistrodon says:

    ALL single use plastics should be banned. That goes for those stupid k cups as well.

  16. Dave says:

    Jim, I live in the same world as you of course. And yes most people in my circle either use nice glass blown straws by local artists, or reusable silicon or metal straws. These people really care and understand we are fighting a losing battle where the only way to win is for every single person to participate, including you.

  17. Wow says:

    So Republican. We’re all about Home Rule, until we’re not. Follow the money.

  18. Lost touch says:

    The honorable senator Hutson needs to “head to the house.” I will be voting for someone else next time who supports home rule. I want myself and the people in my community to thrive and we deserve better representation than this. I really don’t care about the straws but to show my children that community and responsibility are critical I will make the switch.

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