California State Senate Rejects Plastic Bag Ban
The California State Senate once again voted against a proposal for a statewide ban on disposable plastic bags. In a vote last week, Senate Bill 405 fell three votes short of making California the second state after Hawaii to ban single-use bags from retailers and grocery stores. The final vote was 18-17, with four abstentions.
This is the third time that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla, has failed to pass the senate since 2010. "While I'm disappointed at today's result, I remain encouraged because more of my colleagues had the courage to support this measure than similar attempts in the last five years," Padilla said. "I am convinced that a statewide policy is only a matter of time."
Several of the senators who voted against the policy claimed that the bill could cost up to 2,000 jobs in the California community. Democratic Senator Kevin de Leon, who voted against the bill because it would have impacted 500 employees of a bag manufacturing in his district, said, "These are real jobs. These are real lives. These are real human beings who have to put food on the table for their children."
Although statewide regulation has repeatedly failed to pass in California, the state is home to the largest number of local bag bans in the country. More than 75 cities and counties in California, including Malibu, San Francisco and Los Angeles County, have some form of ordinance on disposable bags. CleanTechnica reports that since 2005, statewide use of plastic bags has dropped 33 percent, from a high of 21 billion bag to 14 billion in 2012, with stores in those areas replacing disposable items with reusable tote and shopping bags.
Hope for statewide regulation will have to wait until next year, as bills that don't pass the Senate by June 1 cannot become law. Padilla said that he hoped to persuade the four senators who did not vote this year to reconsider the bill in 2014.