AUSTIN (KXAN) - Just after 2 a.m. Friday, Austin City Council passed the bag-ban ordinance by a vote of 7-0.
Debate on the issue didn't start until 11 p.m.
Beginning in March of next year retail stores will no longer be able to offer paper or plastic bags at checkout counters. Instead, shoppers will have to use cloth or reusable bags.
Initially council was looking at a set fee of 10 cents per bag for the first year, but decided to scrap that idea.
Instead the city will conduct a campaign to educate residents about this major change. The cost is estimated between $1.5 and $2 million.
"I'm looking at 50 percent of that cost being in distributing reusable bags in the city for socioeconomic parts around the city. So we're talking about a media campaign, a bag distribution, and a neighborhood outreach campaign," said Bob Gedert, director of the city's trash and recycling department.
There are a few exceptions to this new rule.
Single-use plastic bags will be allowed for things like newspapers, dry cleaning, and restaurant carry out foods.
Austin is the first big city in Texas to ban plastic bags in retail stores.
Light snow flurries were reported early Saturday just north of the KXAN viewing area. Sub-freezing temperatures along with a slight chance of light snow, sleet and freezing rain will continue through Sunday morning.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who murdered an Austin teacher in Benghazi on Thursday.
Back in June, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law officially letting teachers and students use greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" in school, all without getting in any trouble.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.