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.