SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After a signature check conducted by California county registrars, Secretary of State Alex Padilla today announced the qualification of a ballot measure to repeal Senate Bill 270, legislation passed in 2014 to ban plastic retail bags and allow grocers to charge – and keep – 10 cents for each paper and thicker plastic bag provided to their customers. With the qualification, the law will be suspended until California voters cast their ballots on the issue in November 2016.
"SB 270 was never a bill about the environment. It was a backroom deal between the California Grocers Association and their union friends to scam consumers out of billions of dollars in bag fees – all under the guise of environmentalism," said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance. "California voters will now have the chance to vote down a terrible law that, if implemented, would kill 2,000 local manufacturing jobs and funnel obscene profits to big grocers without any money going to a public purpose or environmental initiative."
More than 800,000 signatures were submitted by the December 29, 2014 deadline in order to qualify the referendum. The county registrars performed a signature check where at least 555,236 valid signatures were needed to qualify by random sampling and today that threshold was exceeded. 504,706 signatures were needed for the referendum to qualify.
"SB 270 is a de facto multi-million dollar tax on California's small businesses and shoppers. Voters should be thrilled to have the opportunity to reverse it," said John Kabateck, California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
In addition to suspending the law until after votes are cast in November 2016, qualifying the referendum will also save hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be wasted on state administrative costs associated with implementation of the bill. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office over $700,000 would need to be allocated from the state budget to fund administrative positions from 2015-2018.
"State lawmakers continue to saddle Californians with more taxes, fees and wasteful red tape. We are certain that, now given the opportunity, California voters will trash the foolish bag tax," said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA).
Added Califf, "Today is an important day for tens of thousands of families across the country that are supported by the American plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry. It's outrageous that California legislators voted to kill California jobs just to line the pockets of big grocers and their labor union supporters. But the APBA is proud to defend these workers and we remain confident California voters will reject the bag ban scam at the ballot box in November 2016."
About the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA)
The American Progressive Bag Alliance was founded in 2005 to represent the United States' plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, employing 30,800 workers in 349 communities across the nation. APBA promotes the responsible use, reuse, recycling and disposal of plastic bags and advocates for American-made plastic products as the best environmental choice at check out—for both retailers and consumers.