- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2014

The California State Legislature on Friday passed a statewide ban on plastic grocery bags — a first of its kind in the country if Gov. Jerry Brown signs it into law.

The bill, by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores a year later, The Associated Press reported. Mr. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign it into law.

Mr. Padilla said he had not spoken with Mr. Brown about the plastic bag ban and that “we’re taking nothing for granted,” The Fresno Bee reported.

The hotly contested bill — aggressively lobbied by environmentalists and bag manufacturers — would allow stores to charge customers 10 cents for paper or reusable plastic bags as an alternative, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Similar bans are already in place in more than 100 California cities and counties, including Los Angeles County and San Francisco.

The governor’s Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari, called the ban “embarrassing.”

“Poverty? Jobs? Education? Rebuilding the middle class? Nope. Plastic bags,” he wrote Thursday on Twitter.

Proponents argue the plastic bag ban will benefit the environment and significantly reduce waste.

Mr. Brown’s office typically does not comment on pending legislation, and it declined to comment Friday on the bag bill, The Fresno Bee reported.