This week, Gov. Brown signed SB 270 by State Senators de Leon, Lara and Padilla (who is running for State Secretary). Once it becomes law, SB 270 would “prohibit stores that have a specified amount of sales in dollars or retail floor space from providing a single-use carryout bag to a customer, with certain exceptions. The bill would also prohibit those stores from selling or distributing a recycled paper bag at the point of sale unless that store makes that bag available for purchase for not less than $0.10.”
The law will take effect in large stores by July 1, 2015; smaller stores have until July 2016.
But never fear, the American Progressive Bag Alliance has announced that they will start to collect signatures in an attempt to overturn the law via a referendum. They have filed the paper work and once the state releases a title and ballot summary they will have 90 days to gather just over 500,000 signatures to qualify for the 2016 November ballot. If they can collect the appropriate amount of signatures, the law will be put on hold until after the November 2016 election decides the fate of the bill.
The fee of not less than $0.10 per bag has generated some controversy because it could become a huge profit center for grocers. Some have said this is why the California Grocers Association, who had been an opponent, came out in favor of the bill.
Are plastic bags even a threat to the environment? A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis states that plastic bags account for just 0.6 percent of all litter and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that plastic bags account for less than 0.5 percent of the entire waste stream and are completely recyclable. And those reusable “eco-friendly” bags that are mostly made overseas; it will be like carrying around bacteria laden petri dishes.
OCTax will be working with the American Progressive Bag Alliance to Ban the Bag Ban, so keep tuned to our face book page and twitter feed as more information become available for how you can help as well.
By Carolyn Cavecche, President & CEO of Orange County Taxpayers Association