Senator takes aim at plastic bags, straws

Amid a broader national debate about the issue, a Senate Democrat on Thursday filed a bill that would prevent grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses that sell food from using plastic carryout bags and providing single-use plastic straws.

Sen. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, filed the proposal (SB 502) for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 5. The proposed bans would carry $500 fines for first-time violators and $1,000 fines for subsequent violations.

Similar proposals have popped up in various parts or the country in recent years, at least in part because discarded plastic bags and straws are blamed for damaging marine life.