Citizen effort to repeal Issaquah's bag ban succeeds

ISSAQUAH, Wash. - Organizers of a citizen-led effort to repeal Issaquah's plastic bag ban have succeeded in collecting the required number of signatures needed to approve their petition.

"I am excited," says Craig Keller, the man behind Issaquah's petition. "There are an endless number of people irritated by this legislation."

Keller and his supporters spent the past six months gathering signatures from 15-percent of the city's total registered voters. After missing the mark by several hundred signatures on their first attempt, Keller says they were able to get what they needed this time around.

This week, King County Elections sent a letter to Issaquah's city clerk stating the petition met the required 2,549 signature count.

According to a spokeswoman for the city, the city council now has two options - they can either adopt the petition and repeal the bag ban or they can put it on the ballot and let the voters decide.

Last June, the city council voted 5-2 to approve the plastic bag ban. Part of the ban took effect in March, prohibiting all large retailers within Issaquah from using plastic carryout bags. The bag ban is expected to take effect at all small retailers on March 1, 2014. The ban also requires stores to charge a minimum of 5 cents per bag for paper bags.

Keller, who started Save Our Choice, a volunteer citizen group originally created to oppose Seattle's bag ban and bag tax, says voters - not just city leaders - should have a say in these kinds of decisions.

Issaquah's next city council meeting is Monday, Oct. 7. As of Friday afternoon, the bag ban was not on the agenda.