[JURIST] The implementation of California’s plastic bag ban [SB 270 text], which was set to go into effect in July, has been halted by a successful referendum petition. The trade group American Progressive Bag Alliance (ACPA) [advocacy website] collected [LAT report] more than 800,000 signatures on their petition [petition form]. A random sampling of these signatures by election officials is projected to satisfy the requirement 504,760 signatures needed to place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. The ACPA contends [PITA report] the bag ban will eliminate manufacturing jobs and boost grocery store profits. Supporters of ban, including campaign group California vs. Big Plastic [advocacy website], argue the law is intended to protect the environment by preventing littering and pollution caused by plastic grocery bags. In addition, supporters of the ban have heavily criticized the more than $3 million spent by ACPA in their push for a referendum. The referendum will not affect bans on plastic grocery bags enacted by 138 cities and counties in California.
SB 270 has faced a protracted and continuing political battle. California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] signed [JURIST report] the bill in October, making it the first law of its kind in the US. California Senator Alex Padilla [official website] introduced the bill in an effort to reduce the amount of litter caused in the state by plastic bags. Austin, Texas, banned [Earth Policy Institute report] plastic bags in 2013 and in January 2014, Los Angeles because the largest US city to ban the use of plastic bags.