Advertisement
  1. News

This California lawmaker introduced a bill to reduce plastic straw use

Environmental groups say that up to 500 million plastic beverage straws are used every day in the United States, and a California lawmaker is drawing up plans to stop the flow of damage to the environment. [Hellen Sergeyeva | Dreamstime/TNS]
Published Jan. 29, 2018

Campaigns have sprung up along the east and west coasts of the United States to crack down on a threat they say is highly detrimental to marine environments — plastic straws.

It's an effort that's not new to Pinellas County.

California Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon introduced Assembly Bill 1884 on Jan. 17, which would make plastic straws strictly on-demand request at dine-in restaurants.

"We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans," Calderon, a Democratic lawmaker from Whittier, Calif., said in a press release on Jan. 18. "AB 1884 is not ban on plastic straws. It is a small step towards curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage."

Because of the current California Retail Food Code, a violation would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $25 to $1,000 for each offense, up to 6 months in a county jail or both, according to the bill.

One vocal opponent of the bill, California Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach, Calif., lambasted the bill for potential government overreach.

California Democrat Leader Ian Calderon wants to ban PLASTIC STRAWS. Is there any part of your life that Democrats don't want to control? As Governor, this is exactly the type of legislation that I will VETO https://t.co/clGfeZbn9L

Six months in jail for a straw. This is today's California Democrat Party. Don't like it? SEND ALL YOUR USED AND NEW STRAWS TO:@IanCalderon
Democrat Assemblyman
13181 Crossroads Parkway North, Ste 160
City of Industry, CA 91746-3497
Tel: (562) 692-5858https://t.co/DYzF5ASZ27

Calderon took to Twitter to address concerns of the punishments, saying that the intention behind the bill is to deter the use of straws, not to put restaurant employees behind bars.

I'd like to clarify that #AB1884 (Straws Upon Request) is (a) NOT a ban; (b) should it become law, it will NOT make it a crime for servers to provide plastic straws. My intention is simply to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic straws on our environment.

No, not really. The penalties are attached to the code section the bill is currently in. That will change. Amendments are part of the legislative process.

Calderon further outlined his reasoning behind the bill in the press release.

"Plastic is a material that lasts forever, yet 33 percent of all plastics are used just once and thrown away. Only 9% of all plastics are recycled, but due to their small size and lack of a resin code, no straws are ever recycled," the release read.

When plastic straws end up in the water, they break down into micro-sized pieces that often end up being consumed by marine life, the release added.

A Treasure Island mom had a similar idea to Calderon when she started grassroots movement in 2015 with the goal of eliminating the use of plastic straws in Treasure Island.

RELATED: Treasure Island decides not to ban plastic straws on the beach

In a viral Facebook post, Julie Featherston took a photo of herself with a fistful of sandy straws in front of Caddy's on the Beach that received thousands of shares. She later started a petition that gathered hundreds of signatures.

Eventually, Caddy's on the Beach changed its straw policy in 2015. Servers were now required to only give straws if customers requested them. In 2017, the restaurant moved to "biodegradable straws" according to Featherston's Facebook post.

Treasure Island commissioners ultimately decided in 2016 against an outright ban on straws in the city, believing it to be too strict.

Instead, they opted to give businesses a six-month period to voluntarily stop using plastics and cited that many local businesses had already adopted the use of paper straws.

Featherston told the Tampa Bay Times in 2016

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Brooksville City Hall
    Spending plan includes a new fire fee calculation, new positions and a plan to improve city infrastructure.
  2. The exterior of the new Nova Southeast University Tampa Bay Regional Campus, Clearwater can be seen on Friday. September 20, 2019.  SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Nova Southeastern University’s new campus off the Courtney Campbell Causeway was funded by Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel.
  3. Michelle Brandon, center, was one of four teachers at Pasco County's Hudson Elementary to be removed after two weeks of classes because of her state "VAM score." Here she is seen, before her transfer, on the first day of school this year, reviewing classroom rules with students. Later, when they broke the news to students, “there were a lot of tears,” Brandon recalled. "It was very difficult.” JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times
    It’s a number that is mostly based on test scores. The state says it helps put the best teachers in struggling schools, but many say it’s not valid.
  4. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
    Scott renews his talking point in the wake of an investigative story.
  5. 2 hours ago• Pasco
    Pasco Kids First president and CEO Robert Wolf. Becky Bennett/Pasco Kids First
    News and notes from Pasco County
  6. Stay with tampabay.com for the latest news and updates. Times
    Seth Monroe Majors, 31, died at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.
  7. Building sand mandalas will be offered each day throughout Peace Week at Pasco-Hernando State College's Porter Campus. JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Peace Week 2019 will be Sept. 30-Oct. 4
  8. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and developments.
    The shooting happened on the 5100 block of Matanzas Avenue, police said.
  9. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates.
    Charges in the incident are pending, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement