A group fighting California’s statewide ban on plastic bags is now pushing a second ballot measure that could cause confusion for voters and push grocers into bag-ban opposition.
The San Jose Mercury News reports the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) has filed an initiative called the Environmental Fee Protection Act. If the initiative qualifies for the ballot, California voters will next November be presented with two plastic-bag-related measures.
One measure will ask voters whether a statewide bag ban passed by the state legislature in 2014 should be approved. The Environmental Fee Protection Act, meanwhile, calls for 10-cent fees collected by retailers for paper and thicker plastic bags to go toward environmentally focused projects.
The environmental fee action could only go into effect if California residents vote in favor of the statewide ban.
“Voters faced with too many choices get confused, and confused voters tend to vote no on everything,” John Matsusaka, executive director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California, told the Mercury News. “In this case, that’s exactly what the proponents of the referendum want.”
Plastic bag makers also seem to be hoping the additional ballot measure will bring grocers’ into their corner. Grocers have supported a statewide ban to avoid dealing with the specifics of individual municipal bag bans. But if the fees for alternative bags are no longer destined for their coffers, that bag ban support could dissolve.
The California Grocers Association told Plastics Recycling Update it was “reviewing the language” of the new initiative before deciding on a formal position. The group continues to support the statewide ban on plastic bags.