Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bag Legislation Update (AB 2829 & 2058)

On April 14th, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee considered two competing bills targeting plastic bags. The committee voted against AB 2829, a bill that would have imposed a mandatory fee of 25 cents on plastic carryout bags. AB 2829 was strongly supported by many environmental groups as it would have marked the most aggressive action by any state legislature in the nation to curb the proliferation of plastic bags and limit their negative impacts on the environment. The committee passed its competing bill, AB 2058, authored by Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), which is weaker because it sets recycling targets to reduce plastic carryout bag pollution, with an eventual fee of 15 cents if the future targets are not met.

However, the future looks promising for statewide plastic bag legislation in California; in negotiations surrounding the hearing, Assemblymember Levine agreed to bring on Assemblymembers Davis and Brownley (D-Santa Monica) as joint authors of AB 2058 and to amend the bill to increase the fee from 15 cents to 25 cents. Assemblymember Levine also agreed to streamline the recycling targets and include language in the bill repealing his previous legislation that preempts local governments from placing a fee on plastic carryout bags.