California’s single-use plastic bag ban, SB270, will very likely become a law by the end of September. Governor Jerry Brown confirmed as much during a televised debate with his Republican opponent Neel Kashkari on Thursday night.
“I probably will sign it, yes,” said Brown.
After several years of campaigning against single-use plastic bags, pro-environmental groups are relieved to hear Brown say so. The Governor typically refrains from commenting on pending legislation.
SB270 was approved by the California Senate in late August. If passed, it will prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and pharmacies starting July 2015. The bags will also be banned from convenience stores and liquor stores in the following year.
Kashkari, who is challenging Brown for the governor’s seat in this year’s upcoming election, expressed disdain for the bill in an August 28 Twitter post. “Poverty? Jobs? Education? Rebuilding the middle class? Nope. Plastic bags.” The former U.S. Treasure Department official added, “#embarrassing.”
During last week’s debate, Kashkari said if he were governor, “No chance would I sign that bill.”
After his initial reply, Brown seemed to gather steam on why he felt the bill should be passed. “In fact, I’ll tell you why I’m going to sign it,” he said. “There are about 50 cities with their own plastic bag ban, and that’s causing a lot of confusion.”
Forbes puts the number of California jurisdictions that enforce a plastic bag ban closer to 100.
“This is a compromise,” said Brown. “It’s taking into account the needs of the environment, and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers.”
According to the latest campaign poll, Kashkari is trailing Gov. Brown by 16 percent.