Albany County legislators voted 22-14 Tuesday night in favor of Local Law D, instituting a five-cent fee on paper bags to promote the use of reusable bags in the county. However, the County Legislature failed to reach the 20 votes needed to pass a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products.
The Times Union reports more than 100 people showed up to the Tuesday meeting where the Legislature voted 18-17 in favor of the flavored tobacco ban, called Local Law E. There was one abstention and several absences — absences mean the 39-member Legislature didn't have the 20-vote majority necessary to pass the bill.
Several states and municipalities have passed bans on flavored e-cigarette products in recent months in response to vaping-associated lung injuries that have now killed 40 Americans and hospitalized 2,000 more. New York state passed a temporary ban on flavored e-cigarette products in September, but it was blocked by a court order, granting a temporary restraining order until a lower court considers a lawsuit to overturn the ban.
The bag fee compotes with a state law instituting a ban on plastic bags starting in March 2020. 40 percent of the fee will help the county promote and buy reusable bags for low-income residents.