Photo by Edgar Zuniga Jr./CC-BY-ND, via flickr.
Photo by Edgar Zuniga Jr./CC-BY-ND, via flickr.

Opponents of a recently signed law banning single-use plastic bags received permission Friday from Secretary of State Debra Bowen to begin gathering signatures for a referendum to overturn it.

SB 270, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 30, would ban grocery stores and pharmacies from making single-use plastic bags available beginning on July 1. Convenience stores and liquor stores would be banned from making single-use plastic bags available beginning on July 1, 2016.

The law would also provide up to $2 million in competitive loans to businesses transitioning to manufacturing reusable bags.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance, a group of plastic bag manufacturers, called SB 270, “a back room deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit — all under the guise of environmentalism.”

“If this law were allowed to go into effect it would jeopardize thousands of California manufacturing jobs, hurt the environment, and fleece consumers for billions so grocery store shareholders and their union partners can line their pockets,” according to the alliance.

There was no response tonight to a request for comment from Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, one of the law’s three authors.

When Brown signed the bill into law Sept. 30, another author, Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, called it a “win-win for the environment and for California workers.”

“We are doing away with the scourge of single-use plastic bags and closing the loop on the plastic waste stream, all while maintaining and growing California jobs,” de Leon said.

Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election — must be submitted by Dec. 29 to qualify the measure for the ballot, Bowen said.

— City News Service

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