Plastic Bag Ban to Be Decided by Referendum in California
"The statewide ban, hailed by environmental groups as a way to reduce litter and ocean pollution, had been scheduled to go into effect in July," writes Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News. "But large companies that manufacture plastic grocery bags, led by Hilex Poly of South Carolina, said the measure would harm the state's economy and that it unfairly allowed grocers to charge customers 10 cents per paper bag."
The Secretary of State's Office said (Feb. 24) that a random sampling found that the measure's supporters collected at least 555,236 valid signatures -- more than the 504,706 needed to qualify the referendum for the 2016 ballot. [The group submitted 800,000 signatures.]
Rogers write that the referendum is anticipated to produce one of the most expensive campaigns in history. The plastics industry will need to overcome current polling showing that voters like the controversial measure "by a margin of 59 percent to 34 percent," according to a poll taken by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times in November, writes Rogers.
Supporters of the ban have organized under the group, California vs. Big Plastic.