ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – You might not find a plastic straw in your drink next time you go to a restaurant in St. Augustine Beach.
City commissioners passed a resolution Monday night discouraging businesses and residents from using plastic straws, stirrers and similar plastic items as part of a larger environmental effort to go "plastic-free."
The city recommends businesses offer a biodegradable alternative or a metal or other reusable straw or stirrer instead.
The goal of the ban in the coastal community is to protect the ocean and marine life and to keep a cleaner environment. The commission noted the ban would reduce the cost of cleaning these items off area beaches.
While the commission's resolution simply discourages use of plastics, Key West and other Florida communities have gone further and have banned straws and other items -- bans that the Florida Legislature are trying to block.
Bills blocking local governments from banning single-use plastic straws passed the Florida House Monday on a 71—40 vote and the Senate 24-15 on Tuesday.
The House bill's sponsor, Rep. Spencer Roach, R-Fort Myers, argued that the state is still free to ban single-use plastic straws or sunscreen, but the rules need to be applied statewide.
“We need a uniform regulatory framework in the state of Florida which will serve to attract and protect capital in the state of Florida. That’s what this bill is about," Roach told FloridaPolitics.com.
Opponents of the bill argued that the bill removes too much authority from local governments, known as home rule.