Originally, Senate Bill 90 would have barred restaurants from offering plastic straws unless a customer specifically requested one. But, the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee has now drafted more than a dozen amendments, hoping to the bill out of committee.
“Colleagues, who would have expected 12 amendments on a bill dealing with plastic straws?” state Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, said at Thursday’s hearing.
Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby, shot back: “Who would have expected a bill dealing with plastic straws?”
Lawmakers have been debating for weeks: Should regulations only apply to full-service restaurants — not fast food places, for instance. A preemption that could have dismantled Portland straw regulation was also considered. There’s been discussion surrounding the dangers of drinking beverages while driving without a straw versus with a reusable metal straw.
In the end, compromises were reached, and an amendment passed:
- Convenience stores would be free to include boxes of bulk straws out by soda fountains if there’s not enough room behind the counter for a clerk to keep them.
- Fast food drive-thrus will be allowed to proactively ask customers if they want a straw, rather than waiting for a request.
- Cities and counties would be pre-empted from enacting their own straw regulations, once a statewide law went into effect. It would leave Portland’s regulations intact.