James Kirkikis via shutterstock

HARTFORD, CT — Environmentalists are taking credit for beating back budget language that exempted paper bags from a 10-cent tax and would have prohibited towns from enacting or enforcing plastic bag bans.

The House amended the budget on a 126-22 vote Monday to allow for a tax on plastic and paper bags until they are banned beginning July 1, 2021.

Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CLTCV), said their members spoke out “in droves,” and got lawmakers to change their mind.

Across the state, Hamden, Mansfield, Middletown, New Canaan, New Britain, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Greenwich, and Westport have passed local bans on single-use plastic bags.

Another 30 towns across the state are in the process of either finalizing or getting close to finalizing their own bans on plastic bags — and/or charging fees for their use.

The budget proposal will no longer impact those communities if they wish to enact stronger laws than the state.

The budget still has to pass the Senate and be signed by the governor before becoming law.