Bill seeks to tax, then ban plastic bags on Guam

The Guam Youth Congress, which shadows the grown-up Guam Legislature, hasn't had much luck in getting its concerns translated into real legislative action, but GYC's bill to ban polluting plastic bags appears to be an exception.

At the request of GYC, the Committee on Rules chaired by Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee has introduced Bill 242-34 that would gradually ban the use of fuel-based plastic shopping bags on Guam.

If enacted into law, the plastic ban would roll into effect on April 1. Under the bill, retail stores and restaurants would be prohibited from distributing disposable carry-out plastic bags for retail items or take-out meals “unless those bags are made available for purchase for no less than 25 cents.” The bill also proposes to tax businesses 10 cents per plastic bag imported into Guam.

Revenues from the fines would be deposited into the Wildlife Conservation Fund.

The plastic bag tax would be collected until Oct. 1, after which a total ban would be in effect. Violations would result in a fine of $500 for the first offense and $1,000 per each repeat offense.

“This is my fourth year in the Guam Youth Congress, and this is the first Youth Congress bill I have seen introduced to the Guam Legislature,” said the Youth Congress Speaker Javan Santos, the sponsor of the bill.