May 16 - Big Win: CA Supreme Court Denies Challenge to LA Bag Ban

Wednesday marked another big win as local governments continue to fight back against the Plastic’s Industry’s attempts to block local plastic bag ordinances through legal challenges. A lawsuit filed by representatives for the Plastics Industry, claiming LA County’s ordinance banning single-use plastic violated Prop 26, was denied by the California’s State Supreme Court.

LA County’s ordinance bans single use plastic bags in unincorporated areas of the county, and requires stores that distribute paper bags to charge 10 cents per bag.

In October 2011, South Carolina-based Hilex Poly, the nation’s largest producer of single-use plastic bags, filed suit in Los Angeles, claiming that the requirement to charge for paper bags was a 'tax.’ They alleged that the ordinance's adoption by the County Board of Supervisors in December 2010 violated the requirements of Proposition 26.

Proposition 26 was the November 2010 voter-adopted initiative that requires any local ‘taxes’ to be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the electorate.

Superior Court Judge Chalfant ruled in 2012 that the 10 cent charge was neither a 'general tax' imposed for governmental purposes nor a 'special tax' collected by the County for a specific purpose. The judge’s ruling was upheld in California’s Second Appellate District Court in February of this year, but was petitioned for review in the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the Court issued a one-sentence response: "Petition for review denied."

CAW is pleased to see this victory for LA County and encourages local governments to continue working to pass ordinances banning single-use plastic bags in their city or county. CAW is also working to pass a statewide bag ban, SB 405 (Padilla).

You can sign a petition supporting SB 405.