California voters won’t see the bag ban on the ballot until November 2016, that’s more than 21 months from now. But both sides are already preparing for a tough campaign.
The referendum effort was mounted by the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a group that includes bag manufacturers. The group’s Jon Berrier says the ten-cent fee grocers would be able to charge for paper bags is one of the law’s problems.
"The billions of dollars in fees that will be collected directly by the big grocers and supermarkets in the state on the backs of their customers under the guise of environmentalism is something that voters really want to weigh in on," he says.
But ban supporters say plastic bag manufacturers are the ones who will be making the money. Mark Murray is with Californians Against Waste, which fostered the bag ban at the state and local level. He says shoppers may be funding the anti-ban campaign.
"California consumers spend $400 million a year on single-use bags. Most of that money is going to out of state plastic bag manufactures," he says. "Consumers can do something every day by eliminating their consumption of plastic grocery bags."
More than 130 cities and counties in California have local bag bans in place. Those will not be affected by this referendum. Several other jurisdictions have said they’ll now move forward with local bans as well.