May 14 - SB 270 State Bag Bill Passes First Vote, Advances

California is one step closer to being plastic bag free in grocery, drug and convenience stores!

The state bag bill, SB 270 by Senators Padilla, de Leon, and Lara, was heard for the first time today in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

CAW Executive Director Mark Murray testified as a primary witness in support, along with representatives of Heal the Bay and Environment California. The long list of supporters included reusable bag companies, the California Retailers Association, the California Grocers Association, local governments, and other environmental groups.

Senator de Leon noted that this bill is a "win-win situation", providing jobs and "moving [the] economy forward into the green future." The bill provides funding for companies in California to transition from making single-use plastic bags to reusable bags.

Senator Padilla summarized the motivations of the plastic bag industry, whose recent anti-ban ads targeted him specifically. The industry was clearly fighting "to keep profit margins at the cost of our economy...and environment." Over the last five years, the plastic bag industry has spent nearly $2 million to lobby state bag bills.

SB 270 passed 5-3, and now advances to the Assembly Appropriations committee. If passed and signed into law, the bill would phase out plastic grocery bags in covered stores starting July 1, 2015, with full implementation one year later. Reusable and paper bags may be sold for ten cents each.

Read more in the LA Times.

Thanks to the Senators for their environmental leadership, and to everyone for sending in letters of support and letting your legislator know that you want California to be the first with a state bag ban.