California Lawmakers Pass Statewide Ban on One-Use Plastic Bags
California lawmakers have voted to become the first state in the nation to impose an all-out ban on single-use plastic bags.
Senate Bill 270 passed the Senate on a 22-15 vote Aug. 29 and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation was approved by the state Assembly the day before, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Senators who had previously opposed the bill, including incoming Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, ended up supporting the measure after protections were added for plastic bag manufacturers.
Introduced by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, the bill would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and then at convenience stores the year after -- and would set aside $2 million in loans to help manufacturers transition away from the plastic bags and toward producing reusable bags.
The new law would also allow grocers to charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags requested by shoppers.
The bill had prompted aggressive lobbying campaigns by both environmentalists, in support of the law change, and bag manufacturers, in opposition to the bill.
In an effort to reduce the accumulation of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to clean up, about 100 local jurisdictions across the Golden State have adopted similar bans.
Los Angeles became the biggest city in the country to ban free plastic bags in grocery stores in June of last year.
On a 9-1 vote, the city council supported a bag ban that went into effect Jan. 1 for large stores, the AP piece continued.
Material supporting the L.A. bag ordinance noted how an estimated $2 million a year is spent to clean up plastic bag litter in the City of Angels.
Sanitation authorities have estimated more than 228,000 bags were distributed in the city every hour.
As part of its plastic bag clean-up initiative, the city planned to distribute about 1 million reusable bags to those in low-income areas.
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