California’s plastic bag ban facing two-pronged attack

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An Orange County lawmaker is pushing to dump California’s plastic bag ban – even while the law is on hold because of a pending voter referendum.

Costa Mesa Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper introduced two bills yesterday. One would reverse the plastic bag ban. The other would get rid of the 10 cent fee for paper bags that is part of the law.

Harper says the charge for paper sacks is a burden for many Californians. “People are paying more for food, for eggs, for other goods they get at the grocery store, more now than ever,” Harper said. “And so when you put on a 10 cents per paper bag fee, that’s just another thing on top of it.”

harperThe plastic bag ban was passed by the Legislature last year and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. It was supposed to go into effect in July – but a referendum campaign has put the law on hold. If enough signatures are collected, voters will weigh in on the issue next year.

Backers say they have enough names, but opponents accuse signature gatherers of using deceptive methods to get people to sign, and they’re challenging the petition.paperbagHarper’s bill, meanwhile, would not change local plastic bag bans that exist in many California cities and counties.

Supporters of the ban say plastic bags are an environmental menace that blight city streets and wild areas and pose a major health risk to sea life when they get into the ocean.

Despite the extra cost and  the small inconvenience, a wide majority Californians have said they favor the ban.