SACRAMENTO, CA - Bye, bye plastic bags. That's what will happen in many stores statewide if lawmakers pass a bill making its way through Sacramento. But, not all lawmakers support the plastic bag ban.
Assembly Bill 158 is the legislation that would create the plastic bag ban. Senator Jean Fuller says she doesn't think a ban is the right thing for Kern County, and she's not the only one against it.
A cart full of food can sometimes lead to a basket of plastic. That's what Assemblyman Marc Levine wants to stop by introducing AB 158 in January.
"A law that would ban plastic bags at grocery stores and pharmacies," said Assemblyman Levine in January.
The legislation would ban checkout plastic bags at grocery stores making $2 million or more a year and large retailers that include pharmacy or grocery sales across the state starting in 2015. Stores would use paper bags with at least 40 percent recycled paper through July 2016. After 2016, they would start charging for them. The goal is to limit litter on our roads and in the ocean.
"We don't have endless amounts of landfill, and at some point we all have to take responsibility for that," said consumer Kelly Harrington who agrees with the ban.
But, not every one is onboard with the ban.
"Plastic bags are very handy for me because they are so reusable. They have so many uses in my household. I know they can be a little messy, but it would be sad to see them go," said Stella Garza, a consumer who wants to keep plastic bags in stores.
Senator Jean Fuller of the 18th District says she's against AB 158.
"Absolutely, this bill does not fit my senate district, especially Kern County," said Senator Fuller.
Senator Fuller said for many here, buying food is hard enough, let alone having to pay for something to carry it in.
"That's why I think that the local government is better suited to deal with this problem with the local grocery stores and convenience stores and local consumers," said Senator Fuller.
Fellow lawmaker, Democrat Ricardo Lara agrees. He says the ban will cost 2,000 jobs in the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry and do more harm to the environment.
"Plastic bags are overwhelmingly reused and they are 100 percent recyclable and they continue to be a safer alternative than paper bags and reusable bags," said Senator Lara.
The bill is in committee. It would not interfere with any current plastic bag bans already in place in around 70 cities and counties across the state.