11/30/16 Update: Hurray! Despite the disappointing national election results, California has some things to cheer about. We passed Prop 67, the single use plastic bag ban! Thanks to everyone who voted!
A few weeks ago, I did something completely out of my comfort zone. I signed up and then showed up to phone bank with Clean Water Action in support of Prop 67, a statewide plastic bag ban on the upcoming November ballot, and against Prop 65, a competing measure that could completely undermine efforts to eliminate plastic bag pollution across the state. I also dragged my friends Nancy and Corbina along with me since, you know, misery loves company and all that.
What is Prop 67?
In 2014, the California legislature passed SB270 (Padilla), a law which would ban single-use plastic carry out bags and require merchants to charge customers a 10 cent fee to purchase disposable paper bags. Shoppers could avoid paying the fee by bringing their own reusable bags. We were so excited when it passed! However, that excitement was short-lived.
The law has not been implemented because out of state plastic bag manufacturers from Texas, New Jersey, and South Carolina gathered enough signatures to place Prop 67 on the ballot, stalling the law and requiring the public to approve the plastic bag ban before it can go into effect.
Please vote YES on Prop 67. A simple majority vote on this measure will allow the legislature’s original bill to go into effect.
What is Prop 65?
In an effort to confuse voters, the plastic bag industry also placed Prop 65 on the ballot. Prop 65 sounds good at first: instead of merchants keeping the 10 cent bag fee, the monies would be collected by the state and diverted into a special fund for environmental purposes. However, legal experts believe that if the state collects the money, the fee will be reclassified as a tax. In California, a new tax requires a 2/3 majority to pass, which legislative experts believe the bill is unlikely to receive. The plastic bag industry is well aware of this technicality. If Prop 65 passes with less than 2/3 of the vote, they will be able to challenge it in court, leaving us with no plastic bag ban at all.
Please vote NO on Prop 65. We can avoid the fee by bringing our own bags.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Be Confused
Are you less confused? Great! Please pass this information along to all of your California friends. We are so close to implementing this legislation statewide, legislation which has ALREADY been shown to work in many cities and counties across the state. It would be truly sad if the bag ban fails simply because voters were confused by the plastic industry’s tactics.
For more information, please visit Clean Water Action’s Prop 67 information page.
And check out this article by the Mercury News analyzing the two propositions.
Please come out and VOTE this year! It’s more important than ever!!!