The measure would ban larger stores, those with 5,000 square feet or more of floor space, from giving shoppers plastic bags, The Raleigh News & Observer reported. They would be allowed to use bags made from recycled paper.
The bill would apply to Dare, Hyde and Currituck counties, which include the Outer Banks and the mainland on the other side of the inland waterway. But backers say they hope to extend the ban to the entire state if it is effective along the coast.
Senate President Marc Basnight, a Democrat who represents Dare County, said plastic bags are littering the landscape on the Outer Banks.
San Francisco is the only place in the country so far to ban plastic bags, although a number of other jurisdictions have adopted or are considering laws aimed at discouraging their use.