More To Come
On August 31, 2010, the California Senate rejected the bill known as AB 1998. AB 1998 would have banned single-use plastic bags throughout the state of California. Passage of the bill would have created uniform plastic bag regulations across all municipalities and local governments within the state of California.
With the defeat of AB 1998, numerous local governments vowed to pass their own ordinances regulating plastic bags. In the two and a half years since, local government leaders have made those vows a reality!
As Redwood City, California passed their local reusable bag ordinance on March 25, 2013, the number of local municipalities with plastic bag ordinances is now approaching 10% of all California cities. Furthermore, eight counties have adopted plastic bag regulations.
I think the local governments of California have spoken! Their vow was not an empty threat. Each community put action behind their vow; and along the way, more local governments have joined the pursuit. There will be more plastic bag bans in California.(1)
Now, once again, State legislators have the opportunity to pass a state law to make plastic bag regulations uniform throughout the state. State Senator Alex Padilla has introduced a bill, SB 405, that would prohibit large footprint retailers from providing single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout. If passed, the law would take effect in 2015.
Passage of a state law would make most local ordinances obsolete as they would give way to the state law. Most local ordinances contain a clause that states: "Nothing in this ordinance is intended to create any requirement, power or duty that is in conflict with any federal or state law."
A state law is supported by many local jurisdictions, state environmental groups, and even the California Grocers Association (CGA). In 2010, the California Grocers Association supported AB 1998 (2) and is again supporting SB 405.
(2) CGA Press Release
Cover photo: Economic regions of California, as defined by California Economic Strategy Panel, Oct. 2006. The copyright holder of this work has released this work into the public domain.