What is going to happen to the California Statewide Legislation for Single-Use Bags?

I’m sure many of you remember the School House Rock’s production of How a Bill Becomes a Law! It was cute, catchy and an easy way for us to be engaged in government class.

Now you can apply that catchy tune to the ups and downs of the statewide legislation banning single-use bags in California. The idea of single-use bag ban has been circulating in California for several years. Most recently, California State Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, who represents California’s 41st Assembly district, reintroduced the idea in AB 298 in early 2011. The bill has had several readings and been through several committees in the California Senate in the last 18 months. However, again, the journey of statewide single-use bag legislation has come to an end…or at least a pause!

On August 6, 2012, California AB 298 was referred to the Appropriations Committee’s suspense file. The bill was referred to the suspense file because it exceeded the $50,000 threshold for the committee and needed further review. On August 16, 2012, the committee deemed the bill too costly and was put on hold under submission. Submission is when the chair of the legislative committee won’t allow the bill to come to a full committee vote. In this case, AB 298 was deemed too costly.

Where does that leave AB 298? California legislators work on a 2 year cycle for all legislative processes. California’s 2 year term ended on August 31, 2012. Therefore, AB 298 is now dead. However, the ideas and concepts of AB 298 can be reintroduced again starting December 3, 2012. Assemblywoman Brownley will not be leading the charge, however. Brownley’s 2 year term limit is now completing.

Now that California’s statewide uniform policy to deal with plastic pollution has again been derailed, many California municipalities will resume work on introducing their own laws. So keep your eyes on the horizon and tune into future blogs to help you navigate bag legislation around the United States and Canada. We hope that you will contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at baglaws@swalter.com if you need further assistance.