On Tuesday California said no to the plastics lobby’s wish list. Proposition 67 passed with 52 percent affirming the law banning the bags. Proposition 65 failed, with 51 percent rejecting the redirection of bag fees. It was precisely the result environmental groups, grocers and unions had pushed for.
When Bisbee, Arizona banned single-use plastic bags in 2014, leaders in the plastics industry worried Bisbee had sparked a trend. So they did what corporate lobbyists do in a reliably conservative state: They persuaded legislators and the governor to declare bans like Bisbee’s illegal.
It’s been 105 years since California voters were granted, by a progressive governor and his forward-thinking allies, the right to make laws at the ballot box. We were not the first to gain the privilege; 11 states got there first. Today 24 states allow for direct legislation, which they exercise with varying degrees of intensity when the need arises.
A snapshot of some of this election year’s high-rolling corporate donors.
This week Capital & Main examines several of the 17 voter initiatives, taking a hard look at corporate influence over California’s ballot-box legislation.
If you’re looking for a real fright this Halloween season, there’s no need to find a haunted house or to visit the coffin in your neighbor’s yard. Just take a look at the independent film Plastic Paradise, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. I saw the film recently with about 200 mostly high school and college students in Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall.
It’s hard to know where to start with the grossness of the plastic mass circulating in the world’s ocean gyres (the five swirling oblong currents in the furthest-most reaches of the planet’s oceans). On the Midway Atoll, one of a string of volcanic islands halfway between the U.S. and Japan, tons of old flip-flops, bottles, pacifiers, toys, sippy cups, bottle tops, garbage bags, laundry baskets and every other item of non-destructible plastic origin you can think of, washes up on the formerly pristine,
Assembly Bill 1522, created to give all California workers at least three days of paid sick leave, passed the legislature Friday, but with a key change: In-home health-care workers who assist disabled and elderly Californians will now be excluded from coverage. The compromise resulted in two important union backers of the bill, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), to withdraw their support.
According to the Sacramento Bee, “The Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees abandoned the bill after it was rewritten to exempt home health-care workers.”
Another closely watched measure, Senate Bill 270, also passed its final hurdle Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The bill, authored by senators Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Huntington Park/Long Beach), will ban single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and other retail outlets.
Last night the California plastic bag measure, state Senate Bill 270, fell four votes short of the required 41 to pass the Assembly. The bill’s support crossed partisan lines – however, several Democratic legislators from the Central Valley and Southern California voted no or did not vote at all. The San Jose Mercury News reported that out-of-state lobbyists representing Hilex Poly, an East Coast plastic bag company, spent nearly half a million dollars to sway legislators to oppose SB 270.
How did your state representative vote? See the voting screen, above.
SB 270, sponsored by senators Alex Padilla, Kevin De Leon and Ricardo Lara, would restrict single-use plastic bags in California, a proven policy measure to limit ocean litter. A similar ban has been implemented in more than 100 communities across California – and in such large cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. The effect has been reduced litter – with no jobs reported lost.
Whether California consumers will continue to enjoy the convenience — and suffer the environmental guilt — of toting their groceries in free, disposable plastic shopping bags may be decided on Thursday.
That’s when Senate Bill 270, the latest version of a statewide measure that would phase out single-use plastic bags in California’s grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies and liquor stores, comes up for a full floor vote in the state Assembly. The bill, which also mandates a 10-cent charge for paper bags, was introduced in February by state Senators Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach).
If it survives Thursday’s Assembly vote and is signed by the governor, it will make California the first state in the nation to adopt a ban even as it replaces 86 local bag ban ordinances covering more than 115 cities and counties — including San Francisco,
On Tuesday the Los Angeles City Council voted, nearly unanimously, to implement a ban on all single-use plastic bags. Plastic bags have become an eyesore around our neighborhoods, but more importantly, they have been costing the City millions of dollars in clean-up. Despite these efforts, many still wind up in our sewer systems, with all too many flowing to the sea where marine life is harmed and various waterways themselves become polluted.
The ban has been in the works since current Councilmember Ed Reyes introduced the idea nearly 10 years ago. This last year many hearings were held over many months, during which time stakeholders passionately presented the measure’s pros and cons. If it were not for the commitment of Councilmembers José Huizar and Paul Koretz, this ordinance would never have succeeded.
The most significant aspects of this measure are as follows: