A deal appears to have been reached in the California legislature on a bill that would ban single-use plastic bags at grocery and big-box stores statewide.
The measure stalled last spring in the state Senate. But Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who's at the center of the talks, told Capital Public Radio Thursday morning that an announcement could come within 24 hours. A few hours later, the bill’s author, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), announced a news conference Friday in Los Angeles County with De León, Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and stakeholder groups.
While the bill's final details were still being worked out Thursday afternoon, Padilla says the framework won’t change from last year’s attempt.
“You phase out single-use plastic bags with a time-certain, make paper available for a fee – and that’s sort of one of the final sticking points, what’s that right number, is it a nickel, is it 10 cents, is it higher? And ultimately, strongly incentivize and encourage the use of reusable bags," Padilla said.
Another area of negotiation among lawmakers, environmental groups and manufacturers is how to help plastic bag factory workers who could lose their jobs. That concern led a bloc of Latino Democratic senators, including De León and Lara, to oppose Padilla’s bill last year.
"What we don’t want to do is move forward good, progressive environmental policy while at the same time, having folks lose their jobs – particularly folks who are of the lower economic strata," de León said.
Ideas under consideration include tax incentives for manufacturers and job training and placement programs for workers.