California Bill AB 158 Clears Its First Policy Committee
Proposed California Assembly bill AB 158, legislation to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, cleared its first hurdle on Monday.
“This has been a long conversation throughout California and I think the time has come to ban plastic bags at stores,” said Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, just moments after his AB 158 cleared its first policy committee.
The bill would ban the distribution of single-use plastic bags at all but small California stores as of January 1, 2015. While that largely means plastic bags, the bill seems focused more on the purpose of shopping bags (“single use”) than their composition.
Various efforts to either ban or charge a fee for single-use plastic bags have arrived and unfortunately sputtered out in the Legislature since 2007. Levine’s AB 158 is most closely aligned with a 2011 Assembly bill AB 298 that died in a Senate committee last year. It also matches up with SB 405 in the current session, written by state Senator Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima.
The efforts in Sacramento to ban plastic bags have been shadowed by local communities; there are more than six dozen now that have some sort of ordinance on the books. Several questions at Monday’s hearing of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources focused on whether those laws – some more strict than the proposed state legislation -would be preempted by legislative action.
Stay tuned for updates on the progress of AB 158 and SB 405 as they proceed through the legislative process.