By Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the U.S.-Mexico border city of Brownsville, calling a local $1 fee on plastic bags at store checkouts an illegal sales tax.

Brownsville’s “environmental fee” was approved locally and took effect in January. It’s meant to reduce waste by discouraging single-use bags.

The suit was filed Wednesday in state District Court in Brownsville. Paxton said in a statement that the ban has cost Brownsville residents millions in fees, adding: “The rule of law must be upheld.”

The suit marks the first time the state attorney general has sued a locality over a bag ban in recent years, though the Republican-controlled Legislature has previously tried unsuccessfully to outlaw such bans.

Some conservatives see bag bans as overregulation, even when local communities support them.

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