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Deal Reached at Calif. Capitol on Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Jae C. Hong / AP
 

Jae C. Hong / AP

Updated at 4:40pm:

Under the deal, single-use plastic bags would be banned at groceries and big box stores as of July 1, 2015. Pharmacies and liquor stores would be subject to the ban in 2016.

The stores would have to charge no less than 10 cents for any type of bag they sell – recyclable paper, reusable plastic or compostable. They could choose to charge more than 10 cents a bag.

The bill also includes $2 million of incentives for retraining plastic bag factory workers and retooling companies.

And starting in 2016, reusable plastic bags would need to contain at least 20 percent recycled material. That requirement would increase to 40 percent in 2020.

Original story:

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 ultimately, strongly incentivize and encourage the use of reusable bags."

~Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima)

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."

~Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)

Ideas under consideration include tax incentives for manufacturers and job training and placement programs for workers.

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