If the experience of the City of Austin is any indication, San Antonio Councilman Cris Medina will need to be prepared to make a lot of compromises if his ban on so called 'single use' paper and plastic grocery and retail bags is to stand a ghost of a chance of ever becoming law in the Alamo City, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Austin has had a bag ban in place since March, but city spokesman Aiden Cohen tells 1200 WOAI news it only came after intensive negotiations with the city's business community, and after a lot of compromises were made along the way.


  "We have made an exemption for dry cleaning bags and for bags that go on newspapers," Cohen said, discussing how supporters of the Austin bag ban were willing to work with local businesses.


  Concerns by dry cleaners scuttled a similar bag ban proposal that was floated in San Antonio in 2009.


  Cohen says in the end, Austin officials voted agaisnt a total ban on paper bags, although stores are encouraged to cut down on the bags they hand out.


  He says banning those cheap plastic bags, which have been common not only in grocery stores but also in big box retailers and small stores as well, has already begun to make a major difference in the Austin's appearance.


  "We have noticed that there are fewer bags littering our fence lines and caught in trees and blown across the roads," Cohen said.


  Cohen says Austin officials also relented when it comes to bags that are used to deliver certain types of fast food.


  He says the big grocers, like HEB, were major contributors to the law, and he says HEB has also led the way in making sure that cloth reusable bags are available.


  "HEB has had free bag giveaway Fridays, to make sure that people who need a bag have an opportunity to get the bags they need for free."


  Medina also wants to eliminate the printed agenda at City Council meetings and encourage the paper-pushers at City Hall to go paperless.  Not even Austin attempted that.