Things to Know About Propositions 65 & 67 – Plastic Bag Ban

By: Randi Swisley
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Two of the Propositions on the November ballot address single use carryout plastic bags.  Proposition 67 is a Referendum asking voters if a law previously passed by the Legislature banning single-use plastic bags should be allowed to go into effect.

In 2014, the California Legislature passed, and the governor signed SB 270, making it against the law for certain stores to provide single-use plastic carryout bags to customers.  The law also prohibited the stores from selling or distributing a recycled paper bag without charging at least 10 cents per bag.  The law required stores to retain the money collected from bag sales to use only for covering the cost of providing carryout bags.  This law would have gone into effect on July 1, 2015 but was suspended by the Legislature in February 2015 when Prop 67 qualified for the ballot.

Today, in 150 California cities and counties accounting for 40% of the state’s population, have their own single-use carryout bag laws. 

If Prop 67 passes, it would have little fiscal effect on state and local government.

A YES vote on Prop 67 means you want to confirm that the law passed by state government should be allowed to go into effect including:

·         prohibit most grocery stores, large pharmacies and liquor stores from providing single use plastic carryout bags

·         require stores to charge at least 10 cents for any other carryout bag provided to customers at checkout

·         allow stores to keep the resulting revenue from bag charges

·         does not effect cities and counties that already have their own single-use carryout bag laws.

A NO vote on Prop 67 means you want to reject the state government approval of SB 270 and no change would be made regarding carryout bag laws.

As of September 16, $2.4 million was donated to support Prop 67 and $6.1 million to oppose it.  Donations to support Prop 67 are from Albertsons, California Grocers Association, Ralphs/Food 4 Less, Raley’s and Californians Against Waste.  Money in opposition is from Hilex Poly Company, Superbag Corporation, Formosa Plastics Corporation, Advance Polybag and Durabag Company.

People who support Prop 67 say it will reduce plastic litter in our oceans.  Supporters also say the opposition is funded by out of state plastic bag companies.

People who oppose Prop 67 say it will decrease manufacturing jobs and customers will have to pay for bags.

The second proposition concerning carryout bags on the November ballot is Proposition 65.  Prop 65 asks voters to use any money generated from a plastic bag laws to the environment.

Proposition 65 does not ban plastic bags.  A YES vote on Prop 65 means that if a state law mandates the sale of bags, you want any money collected by stores through the sale of those bags, to be spent on things like:

·         Drought mitigation

·         Recycling

·         Clean drinking water supplies

·         Public parks

·         Beach cleanup

·         Litter removal

·         Wildlife habitat restoration

Prop 65 overrides laws in cities and counties that already have their own carryout bag laws. 

If Prop 65 passed, funds for state environmental programs would increase of several tens of millions of dollars annually.

As of September 12, donations to support Prop 65 were $6.1 million and no money was recorded to oppose.  Donations to support Prop 65 are from Hilex Poly, Superbag, Formosa Plastics, Advance Polybag and Durabag.

People supporting Prop 65 say a bag ban’s goal is environmentalism, so any money customers pay for reusable bags should go to environmental purposes, not to stores.

People in opposition say Prop 65 is an attempt by out of state plastic bag companies to make voters think it will ban plastic bags.  The only measure on the ballot that will ban plastic bags is Prop 67. 

Prop 65 and 67 contain conflicting provisions regarding how revenue is distributed from a state-mandated sale of carryout bags.   Conflicts will be resolved as outlined in the table.


Prop 67 PASSES

Prop 67 FAILS

Prop 65


Statewide carryout bag law is in effect.

Revenue from sale of carryout bags depends:

·         If more YES votes for 67, revenue is kept by stores

·         if more YES votes for 65, revenue goes to state environmental programs.

No statewide carryout bag law.

Revenue from any future statewide law similar to Prop 65 would be used for environmental purposes.

Prop 65


Statewide carryout bag law is in effect.

Revenue from the sale of carryout bags is kept by stores.

No statewide carryout bag law.