- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California voters were casting ballots Tuesday on Proposition 67, a referendum that would maintain the state’s ban on single-use plastic carryout bags.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance is leading the campaign to repeal the ban approved by the Legislature two years ago.

A coalition of environmental groups and others wants to uphold the ban.

A separate initiative, Proposition 65, would require fees collected from retail customers for alternative bags to be put in an environmental fund.

It proposes to direct any proceeds from the dime-per-bag sales to an environmental fund.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance worked to qualify that proposition for the ballot, which opponents say was done to confuse voters.

The Legislature approved SB270 to ban grocers from giving out plastic bags.

Steve Maviglio, spokesman for the Yes on 67 campaign, said plastic bags kill marine life, jam recycling equipment and cause litter, arguing that it’s time for the entire state to have the same law on the books.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance countered that the ban would kill thousands of jobs in California and cost consumers hundreds of dollars annually in bag fees.

Plastic companies and bag manufacturers have spent more than $6 million to place the two measures on the ballot and campaign for them.

If the statewide ban is overturned, stores could provide free single-use plastic bags unless they are prohibited by local laws, which are already in effect in 151 California cities and counties.

The Surfrider Foundation is among groups opposing Proposition 65, said legal director Angela Howe.

“It is unclear what the ‘environmental fund’ set up through Proposition 65 would actually do or how it would be structured within the current conservation agencies in the state,” she said.

It is unclear what if any money would go into the environmental fund if voters approve Proposition 65 but reject the state’s plastic bag ban.


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