Why California City Councils Must Not Pass Bag Bans with a Statewide Vote Pending

California Redwood National Park – By Michael Schweppe
The implementation of plastic bag bans (and paper bag fees) in California has been promoted and pushed by well-organized and well-funded special interest groups working through local politicians, ultimately enacting over 100 local ordinances and subjecting about 33% of the state’s population to bag bans. (White, 2014)

Eventually, after years of failed attempts to pass a statewide bag ban, these organizations were able to leverage local bag bans along with some arm twisting until the California legislature succumbed and passed a statewide bag ban. (Williams & van Leeuwen, 2015) However, when the statewide bag ban was signed into law by Governor Brown, the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) successfully challenged the law through a referendum by collecting 809,810 signatures of registered California voters (with 598,684 valid signatures and 93,924 over and above the quantity needed). This means the statewide law will be on hold until it can be approved or rejected by the people of California in the November, 2016 statewide election. (Fight The Plastic Bag Ban, 2015)

The key strategy of bag banners was to avoid public votes, and concentrate their efforts on convincing simple majorities within the more liberal city councils to jump on the bandwagon.

So, incredibly, November 2016 will be the first time that a single citizen of California will be allowed to vote on the government-imposed bag ban that has already been imposed on about 33% of the population by local public officials and was about to be forced on the entire population of California by the state legislature and the governor. With a statewide vote on the issue now scheduled, one would think that local bag bans would no longer be considered until the voters have spoken.

But, unfortunately, that is NOT the case. Bag banners have embarked on a devious plan: To get as many local cities and towns, as possible, to pass bag bans before the 2016 statewide election. In fact, they have publicly stated that their goal is to get 50% of all Californians to live under a local bag ban before the first Californian ever has a chance to cast a single vote. (Mason, 2015)

These facts raise a serious question for local governments that are considering bag bans pending the statewide vote on the issue: Is it ethical or justifiable to impose a bag ban when their citizens are slated to vote on the matter in the next statewide election and the issue will be settled at the state level?

Consider the following:

  • Local jurisdictions abuse their power; violate the public trust; and waste time and resources in considering or passing local bag bans with a statewide vote pending.
  • There is no justifiable or demonstrable crisis that supports a pre-emptive local bag ban ahead of the November 2016 referendum.
  • Local city councils who implement a bag ban are being used as willing pawns by bag ban pushers and big grocers trying to influence the outcome of the statewide vote scheduled for November, 2016.

To read more, click on the following link: Why CA city councils must not pass bag bans with a statewide vote pending


Fight The Plastic Bag Ban. (2015, February 25). Referendum to Overturn Ban on Plastic Grocery Bags Qualifies For 2016 Ballot. Retrieved from Fight The Plastic Bag Ban: https://fighttheplasticbagban.com/2015/02/25/referendum-to-overturn-ban-on-plastic-grocery-bags-qualifies-for-2016-ballot/

Mason, M. (2015, April 24). For statewide change, advocates are making their battles local. Retrieved from Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-pol-local-governments-20150424-story.html

White, J. B. (2014, September 30 ). California plastic bag ban signed, setting off sweeping changes. Retrieved from The Sacramento Bee: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article2616122.html

Williams, D., & van Leeuwen, A. (2015, January 9). The California Bag Ban Scam. Retrieved from Fight The Plastic Bag Ban: https://fighttheplasticbagban.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/the-california-plastic-bag-ban-scam.pdf


1 thought on “Why California City Councils Must Not Pass Bag Bans with a Statewide Vote Pending

  1. Then it is important that we get commitments from our city council members that they will not bend to the Bag banners back door methods.

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