Florida's Republican Governor Vetoes State Legislature's Ban on Straw Bans

Straw banners have sucked victory from the jaws of defeat.


Florida's straw-banning cities sucked victory from the jaws of defeat on Friday, when Gov. Rick DeSantis vetoed a bill that would have banned their straw bans.

Two weeks ago, the Florida Legislature overwhelmingly passed HB 771, a recycling bill that included a five-year moratorium on localities passing new plastic straw regulations or enforcing the ones they already have on the books.

The target of the moratorium was the 10 towns that had passed either all-out straw bans or straw-on-request laws, which make it illegal to give out unsolicited straws. The law's passage was a rare victory for straw ban opponents, who had tasted little but defeat since anti-straw mania began sweeping the nation in early 2018.

The Republican's veto message makes it clear that his veto was meant to preserve the straw bans already on the books.

"A number of municipalities, including Sanibel, Ft. Myers Beach, and Miami Beach, have enacted ordinances prohibiting single-use plastic straws," it says. "These measures have not, as far as I can tell, frustrated any state policy or harmed the state's interests….[T]he State should simply allow local communities to address this issue through the political process."

Despite a less-than-liberal record on green issues when he was a member of the U.S. House, DeSantis has surprised many by supporting several progressive environmental policies. He has boosted funding for Everglades restoration, opposed offshore drilling, and established two new state-level environmental offices. So his veto should not be a shock.

Nevertheless, the governor's veto statement displays from some puzzling logic. DeSantis tells Floridians "who oppose plastic straw ordinances can seek recourse by electing people who share their views."

That is exactly what they did by electing a Republican state legislature that then went on to pass the bill that the governor is now vetoing. In a political system where power is divided between state and local governments, people who lose the policy fight at city hall can take their issue to the state house.

Indeed, Florida already has passed a law forbidding localities from banning plastic bags.

Lawmakers in Colorado and Utah have introduced similar straw-ban preemption laws. Neither made much progress in those legislatures. With DeSantis' veto, the tactic appears to be a bust in Florida as well.

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  1. Technically, no state has the authority in the State Constitutions to ban any product or service.

    Why pass a law to protect against bans that are already illegal in every state?

    Furthermore, Lefties hate constitutions anyway, so when they want to ban something they dont care what authority they lack or what law says.

    1. Technically, no state has the authority in the State Constitutions to ban any product or service.

      I guess there’s no need for police then since anything goes.

      1. Except for crimes against persons, of course.

    2. Technically, no state has the authority in the State Constitutions to ban any product or service.


      1. States dont have plenary power to do whatever they want.

        Authority for state laws are limited by their respective state constitutions, federal peremptory/supremacy law, and the US Constitution.

        1. Currently, no state (that I have found) contains constitutional authority to ban products or services.

          This could be remedied by amend state constitutions but as with the Controlled Substances Act, the powers that be think that they can get away with it. They mostly have.

    3. It should be left up to the cities.

  2. OT: Very sad news – Doris Day dead at 97.

    1. Just yesterday I was (for no reason I can remember) thinking about her and the fact that I couldn’t remember hearing of her death, so was guessing she was still alive.

  3. That sucks. How can they expect Florida Man to drink beer without a straw?

    1. Or Mad Dog 20/20?

  4. Seeking refuge at the ballot box is a fool’s errand.

  5. I can just as easily read this as standing up for local politics as anything. I have no particular fondness for these strawbans, but do I think it requires overriding municipalities? I would say no.

    1. Couldn’t you more easily read this as standing up for local tyranny?

      1. Not so much in this case. There are negative externalities to plastic straws, so government taking action is not illogical. There’s just a disagreement between people as to what the external costs are to plastic straws and what the response should be. Those in favor of bans may be stupid, but I wouldn’t classify it as tyranny.

        1. Government taking action upon the basis that such action will actually solve a problem is, itself illogical.

          An individual is entitled to live in a state with a republican government a core principle of which is that localities can not enact bans of products used and purchased upon a voluntary and consensual basis even if there is propaganda that there are negative externalities associated with such use.

    2. Ditto. I don’t know where Britschgi is coming from in condemning this. The concept of Federalism should extend past the national government. A state government should not be overruling local government in cases like this. Don’t like it, then enact a change to the state constitution.

      This is not an usurpation of democracy, this is one of the checks and balances designed into the system.

      1. Then as unpleasant as they may be, the federal government has no business telling states that they can’t have licensing boards.

        1. Except that the Federal government does not do that. They could, but they need to base it on Constitutional provisions. Economic activities that are purely internal to a state, and which do not violate the Interstate Commerce Clause, or the Privileges and Immunities Clause, or up to the states. Whether we like it or not.

          1. Someone in a profession which suffers from licensing fever in two states, and who moves from one of those states to the other has engaged in interstate commerce. Or so it will go in court.

      2. Except that local government is not sovereign the way the states are, they are creations of the state. The counties and towns within a state exist only at the pleasure of the state, the state can dis-incorporate them if it wishes to do so.

    3. I oppose the results but would have at least expected a comment from a libertarian regarding how if bad laws are to exist that they would be implemented locally by those most effected. Straw bans are low hanging fruit for a libertarian sited and even then Reason keeps producing articles about it without fully fleshing out the arguments

  6. No unsolicited straws.

    So you make them self service.

  7. I dunno. A single city like Miami could cause businesses to defer to their law in the whole state . Businesses are going to maintain a uniform standard. Kind of like what California does with it’s emission and gas mileage laws does to the US. Auto manufacturers defer to California law.

  8. Nationalize and demolish the commercial straw manufacturing facilities in the state.

  9. I’m still really conflicted on this.

    I’m subject to one of these bans, and it truly sucks. I took a group of elementary school kids to McDonald’s for slushies this weekend after an outing at the trampoline place. They all went through at least two straws. On their third trip to get a fresh straw, a couple of the first graders figured out that the coffee stir sticks were still plastic.

    So instead of using one plastic straw, or 3 or 4 paper straws, they took a handful of plastic stir sticks and shoved them through the lid of their drink. Ingenuity, FTW!!

    That’ll save the environment!

    But on the other hand, I didn’t like the notion of the state telling local governments that they can’t enact laws that fit their community. (even though that means I have to confront the idea that the thing that fits my community is immensely stupid).

    So on balance it is probably good that the governor vetoed this legislation, even thought the stupid straw bans are idiotic.

    The nice thing about local government is that it is local. I pigeon holed the mayor’s wife about the straw ban while we were picking up the kids a couple of weeks ago…. she dodged it, but got the message loud and clear.

    Then I confronted the mayor twice in the last couple of weeks – just enough to let him know I was firmly in the “this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of” camp. We haven’t had a chance to discuss it yet, but I can guarantee that local politicians are getting an earful.

    1. +1

  10. Well, I may as well take this opportunity to be annoying and point out that this is the opposite of Reason’s stance on local compelled-association ordinances. Lord forbid the state legislature protect businesses from *those* – home rule and local government is the way to go!

  11. But…but…but…straws have holes in them!
    Just like the holes in the heads of the proggies in America.

  12. Local politics is preferable to national politics (in the utilitarian sense) because you can escape and/or change it easier.

    The ultimate in “local” would be the individual, though in this case it’s a step in the right direction that someone would avoid using their superior power to FORCE a smaller power to do the right thing. Too bad we can’t all learn that (I’m looking at you, National Carry Reciprocity advocates).

  13. The municipalities banning straws are the same ones that illegally disregard federal laws about turning over criminal illegal aliens to ICE and have the worst crime levels in the state.

    Leftist is a leftist is a moron.

  14. Altho at least 750km from the closest sea ( the Gulf of California ) and with lakes which would be considered ponds in any eastern state , I’m surprised our Colorado Dim mafia didn’t pass such a ban .

  15. They can have my plastic straw when they pry it from my dead, clenched, porcelain, dental implants!

  16. DeSantis, WTF were you thinking?

  17. There is no state that have right to ban product and service, without any legal obligations The Online Dissertation Writers strictly adhere that without any proof any state police can ban anyone services and product.

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