Voters approve plastic bag ban

March 4, 2014

Voters decided to keep plastic bags out of Issaquah.

King County certified the final results of the Feb. 11 election on Feb. 25 and Proposition 1’s aim to overturn the city’s ban on plastic bags failed. With 39.32 percent of registered voters submitting a ballot, only 47.58 percent, or 3,595 people, voted to get rid of the ban, while 52.32 percent, or 3,945, approved of keeping it.

The ban took effect March 1, 2013, and even before its enforcement, volunteer organization Save Our Choice worked to collect signatures against it. After securing enough signatures in October, the Issaquah City Council decided to send it to the voters and let them decide whether it should stand.

“I think this was an interrupting process that showed representative democracy actually works,” 5th District Sen. Mark Mullet said. “This just kind of validated the bag ban.”

Mullet spearheaded the ordinance when he served on the Issaquah City Council in 2012. He said the board held six public input meetings before approving the ban, and he believed the vote allowed an opportunity to support the council’s action.

“You don’t get to see that often,” he said. “You can say, ‘Oh, the council voted against the public,’ but it played out.”

Save Our Choice co-founder Craig Keller lamented the low turnout of the election.

“The burden of restoring retail harmony to Issaquah now drops squarely back upon the council who created this mess.” Keller said, warning about the impact on the future extension of the law and the recent vote against an Issaquah annexation of the Klahanie area. “A little more pain inflicted on shoppers, checkers and small merchants may be required before the council swallows its pride. It must not have escaped their wonder whether their ‘nanny knows best’ approach influenced a souring of Klahanie residents against annexation.”

Keller, a West Seattle resident, invited citizens and business owners to mount another petition immediately and said Save Our Choice would assist.

The City Council decided to stagger implementation of the ordinance, so it currently only affects larger stores. It will impact every business beginning July 1.