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RI lawmaker calls for statewide plastic bag ban

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Plastic checkout bags would be banned throughout Rhode Island under legislation introduced Rhode Island's General Assembly.

State Rep. Maria Cimini introduced the proposed ban on Tuesday. The Providence Democrat's bill would prohibit retailers from handing out plastic bags, and would be the first state-enacted bag ban in the nation.

Last year Barrington became the first town in Rhode Island to impose a ban on plastic bags, joining cities like San Francisco, Westport, Conn., Seattle and Los Angeles. The bags are also prohibited throughout Hawaii because every county in that state has enacted a ban.

Environmental groups say bags are a major pollutant in Narragansett Bay and local waterways.