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.
Family and friends held a vigil Wednesday at the State Capitol in hopes that a Bastrop man can win a new trial.
An unusually cold blast of arctic air arriving early Thursday will be followed by an increasing chance of freezing drizzle/rain and sleet by Friday morning.
The HealthCare.gov website is working more smoothly for central Texans.
City leaders in West Lake Hills discussed the ongoing concern with the city's water system Wednesday night. The problems arise when water is needed most; fighting fires.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
Former Georgetown Police Officer Stephanie Brown said her ex-boyfriend, former Round Rock Officer Eric Poteet, made up accusations against her after she broke up with him.