Chesapeake Bay Watershed; imposes a tax on plastic bags provided to customers in certain localities. (SB139)

Introduced By

Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Plastic bag tax in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Imposes a five-cent per bag tax on plastic bags provided to customers by certain retailers in localities located wholly within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and directs revenues to be used to support the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan. The bill also allows every retailer that collects the tax to retain one cent of the five-cent tax. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


12/27/2017Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/10/18 18101643D
12/27/2017Referred to Committee on Finance
01/13/2018Impact statement from TAX (SB139)
01/17/2018Failed to report (defeated) in Finance (4-Y 11-N) (see vote tally)


Wendy Cohen writes:

Yes!! Having done many stream cleanups and found countless plastic bags, this is MUCH NEEDED legislation. Thank you!

Friends of Accotink Creek writes:

The Friends of Accotink Creek encourage all Virginia legislators to support the work of their many constituents who participate in stream cleanups by supporting SB139 (and SB193 and HB981) to control the sale of disposable plastic bags. We strongly endorse and support efforts like this to reduce trash in local watersheds.

Each year Friends of Accotink Creek and other civic groups mobilize volunteers who clean tons of plastic bags and containers, as well as other trash and debris, from streams that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. Across the United States, millions of tons of plastic waste is washed from streets into waterways, fouling waters for both marine life and human usage.

Reducing consumer consumption of plastic bags, by means of bans, restrictions, and/or taxes, is an effective way to reduce the amount of plastic trash that enters our watersheds, and flows downstream to the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay. Besides being an eyesore and a burden to remove, this noxious litter refuses to go away, only breaking down into toxic particles that will be with us forever.

Scott J Thomas writes:

I am providing public comment in support of SB139 to consider a tax on plastic bags provided to customers for retailers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and revenues from such tax to be used specific to the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund. Plastic grocery bags are a major source of pollution by rainfall/runoff and by wind/air to natural channels and manmade stormwater systems across the Commonwealth.