Plastic checkout bags would be banned throughout Rhode Island under legislation introduced in Rhode Island’s General Assembly. Representative Maria Cimini introduced the proposed ban Tuesday. The Providence Democrat’s bill would prohibit retailers from handing out plastic bags, and would be the first state-enacted bag ban in the nation. Last year Barrington became the first town in Rhode Island to impose a ban on plastic bags, joining cities such as San Francisco; Westport, Conn.; Seattle; and Los Angeles. The bags are also prohibited in Hawaii because every county in that state has enacted a ban. Environmental groups say bags are a major pollutant in Narragansett Bay and local waterways.