California plastic ocean debris bill dies in committee

A shot from Coastal Cleanup Day at Morro Bay, Calif. as Annie Gillespie takes part in the effort. Some 150 tons of trash was picked up at LA County beaches.
A shot from Coastal Cleanup Day at Morro Bay, Calif. as Annie Gillespie takes part in the effort. Some 150 tons of trash was picked up at LA County beaches. Mike Baird via flickr

A California bill that would have required manufacturers to figure out how to keep the most common plastic junk out of state waterways has died in the state Assembly without a vote.

Assembly Bill 521 was before the chamber's Appropriations Committee on Friday. The panel held it without a vote, effectively killing the legislation for the session.

Each year cleanup crews throughout the U.S. collect millions of pounds of plastic trash from beaches and coastal waterways, with the biggest numbers coming from California's 1,100-mile coastline.

The "extended producer responsibility" bill was seeking to shift the cost of cleanup from local cities and counties to plastic products makers.

It aimed to reduce 95 percent of plastic pollution along the state's coastline by 2024.

E-cigarette limits

Meanwhile, the state Senate took California a step closer to tamping down on electronic cigarettes.

Under a bill approved 21-10 on Friday, the state would treat e-cigarettes like any other tobacco product.

Democratic Sen. Ellen Corbett of Hayward said some of the vapors emitted by the e-cigarettes may pose health risks.

SB648 would impose the same limits that apply to other smokers regarding where the devices can be used under California's existing smoke-free laws.

The bill moves next to the Assembly, which must approve it before it can become law.

Health organizations support Corbett's bill, but the Electronic Cigarette Industry Group objects. It says there is no proof the product emits secondhand smoke that can harm bystanders.

Republican Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine also opposed Corbett's bill. He said the e-cigarettes are a popular alternative for those who are trying to stop smoking.

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