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Plastic Bag Ban Among Key Bills As Legislative Session Wraps Up

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 20, 2010
It’s an election year, so you’re probably used to seeing television campaign ads by now. But a new one has hit the airwaves that’s pretty unusual. It’s focused on the defeat of a single bill:
“California’s in trouble. 2.3 million Unemployed. A 19 billion dollar deficit and what are some Sacramento politicians focused on? Grocery bags.….”
The group paying for the ad is the American Chemistry Council. It opposes a bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Julia Brownley that would ban single-use plastic bags at most retailers. Stores could sell recycled paper bags for at least a nickel to customers who don’t bring their own. The A-C-C argues the law would cost the state jobs and calls it a billion dollar tax on consumers. Brownley say she’s a bit surprised by the attention:
“I mean, not only are they putting ads out, but they’ve hired additional lobbyists here. I mean, it is – I’ve never seen a lobbying effort like this before.”
Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated he’ll sign the measure if it passes. Another bill supported by the Governor is known as Chelsea’s law. It was inspired by the murder of a San Diego teenager, and requires life without parole for some sex offenders.
Lawmakers will also take up a bill this week aimed at reducing prison costs. Democratic Senator Mark Leno wrote the measure that would grant early parole for some very ill inmates:
“It’s not often you get to author a bill that could save up to a quarter of a billion dollars annually, so I think it is significant reform.”
Leno’s bill has met with opposition from some Republicans, who consider it early-release for convicted criminals. The legislative session wraps up August 31. Any bills not passed by then are dead – at least for this year. 
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