In a move that surprised no one today, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB270, aka "California's plastic bag ban" into law. Just as unsurprisingly, the folks who make plastic bags are pissed, and say that they won't rest until California's voters repeal the law, with a move that could delay the law's implementation until 2017, or later.
Before today, single-use plastic bags were already verboten in 87 California cities and counties including, as you of course know, San Francisco. With Brown's OK of the state-wide ban, California becomes the first state in the US to have such a law.
With the ban, grocery stores, big-box stores like Walmart and Target, and pharmacies in places that don't already have the ban will be required to stop offering single-use plastic bags by July 2015. The same will go for corner stores and liquor stores the year after that. The law doesn't apply to non-food retailers like most of the places in your local mall, nor does it apply to the little plastic bags you get at the grocery store for produce or bulk items, or the plastic bags they put your meat in.
As has been the case in San Francisco, stores will be required by law to charge at least a dime for every paper bag or "reusable" plastic bag a customer gets, all in an effort to encourage folks to bring their reusable bags.
All this is pretty much nbd for those of us in the Bay Area, where many of us live in places where the single-use bags have been banned for a while. For whom the deal is big are plastic bag manufacturers who, despite the law's built-in $2 million in loans to help them transition their operations to produce reusable bags, say that they're ready to fight the ban.
In a statement sent to media, The American Progressive Bag Alliance (a coalition of manufacturers), which describes the ban as "what happens when greedy special interests and bad government collide in the policymaking process," says that they "have taken the necessary steps to gather signatures and qualify a referendum to repeal SB 270 on the November 2016 ballot."
If they are successful in collecting the number of signatures they'll need to be added to the 2016 ballot (in this case, 504,760 verified signatures), the bag ban will be suspended until after November 2016 election. If voters agree with the bag makers that the law must be repealed, then it's game over for the ban, at least for now. If the ban prevails, the law will then kick in in January, 2017.