Brownsville Ends Plastic Shopping Bag Fee

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Brownsville is removing its $1-a-bag fee on plastic shopping bags in exchange for the Texas Attorney General's Office dropping a lawsuit against the Rio Grande Valley city.

The fee has been in effect for six years.

Weslaco television station KRGV reports the fee has raised $4.4 million to pay for street sweepers, recycling machines, beautification and cleanup.

The state sued Brownsville last year, contending the fee was an extra tax.  City spokeswoman Roxanna Rosas says the city commission has approved a state settlement offer to repeal the fee, believing it's in the best interest of the city to not spend money fighting the lawsuit.

At least a dozen Texas cities have banned the plastic bags or imposed a fee. A state appeals court in August tossed out Laredo's ban.

State Senator Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, filled a bill before the start of the Texas legislature to overturn ordinances that ban plastic bags.