business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Sacramento Bee reports that California voters this week approved Proposition 67, a statewide ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. The margin was 52 percent to 48 percent.

According to the story, "The ban takes effect immediately, which means grocery stores, retail stores with a pharmacy, convenience stores, food marts, and liquor stores will no longer provide single-use plastic carry-out bags to customers. So, if you forget to bring your own bag to the store, be prepared to pay at least 10 cents for a recycled paper bag or reusable alternative."

The Bee goes on to write that "the plastic bag industry, largely companies Hilex Poly and Formosa Plastics, paid for Proposition 67 to qualify for the ballot as a referendum to Senate Bill 270. The law banned single-use plastic bags and would have taken effect on January 1, 2015. But the industry’s referendum halted the ban from going into effect until voters weighed in at the polls. After the measure landed on the ballot, plastic bag companies largely stopped campaigning, which suggests the referendum was simply a ploy to postpone the law and buy time to sell more bags."

California actually has some 150 cities and counties that already have instituted their own bans; the new law says that any bans adopted before January 1, 2015, can be left in place, but those voted on afterwards have to give way to the state legislation.
KC's View:
Of course this happened in California, a state where there already is conversation in some quarters about it being a "rebel state" that is in many ways very different from the rest of the country. Not only did voters adopt a plastic bag ban, but they also voted to legalize marijuana, raise tobacco taxes, toughen gun control laws, extended a tax on high earners, and overturned a law restricting bilingual education in schools.

Rebel state, indeed.