Legislative nannies

Oh great. As the nation and the state suffer through the worst economic crisis in many decades, a number of state lawmakers are dreaming up ideas to cost taxpayers more money in order to protect us from what they perceive as our bad habits.

For instance, two Denver Democrats have introduced a bill that would require all large retail stores to phase out the use of plastic bags for packaging customers’ purchases by 2012.

Until that time, customers would have to pay a 6 cent fee for every plastic bag they use.

Revenue from that plastic-bag tax would be split, with half going to the merchant and half going to an education fund to inform people about the upcoming switch away from plastic.

The legislation was prompted by some Denver school kids, who are convinced that plastic bags are causing environmental havoc.

However, as the Rocky Mountain News noted Friday, several studies have shown that plastic bags require less energy and water to produce than paper bags, and produce less solid waste.

The Legislature ought to bag this needless bill.

Meanwhile, another Front Range lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require school districts across the state to get rid of vending machines that sell high-fat candies or other items, and replace them with low-fat, low-calorie snacks.

We’re all for reducing obesity among our youngsters, but as a representative for the Colorado Association of School Boards noted last week: “We’re in this really difficult financial situation right now. This doesn’t seem to be the time to be diverting resources to ... a mandated snack policy.”

We agree. Lawmakers have meatier issues to chew on this year than snack bans that will cost schools and taxpayers more money.


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