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HesperiaStar.com
  • Plastic bag ban avoids roadblock

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  • A funny thing happened to the plastic bag ban on its way to the governor’s desk ... the California Assembly had second thoughts.
    Those thoughts were prompted by, no surprise, a change of heart by a union. Specifically, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which is the union for grocery store workers.
    The ban, in case you missed it, would — along with forbidding grocery stores and other retail outlets to provide disposable plastic bags to their customers — allow the stores to charge a minimum ten-cent fee at checkout counters for paper or reusable bags.
    But then, at midday Thursday, the grocery store workers union had third thoughts. They’d gone from support to neutrality during the week, and thus allowed Republicans and other skeptics to weigh in and defeat the bill, which had been virtually guaranteed passage until the grocery workers pulled back. Which tells you much about just how powerful California’s unions are when it comes to what Sacramento does, or doesn’t do. Without union support, no idea — no matter how logical or beneficial — sees the light of day.
    The first vote on the measure went down in the Assembly on a 37-33 vote (41 votes are required for passage) after the grocery workers went neutral. One opponent, Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Marysville, put the whole issue in perspective by saying, “This legislation creates a heavy financial burden on consumers and forces consumers to essentially decide how they would like to be taxed. They can either purchase a reusable bag to take to the store with them or they can spend ten cents for every recycled bag they get at the store.”
    Surprisingly, after the grocery workers went neutral, even some Democrats spoke up in opposition, echoing what Republicans had been saying all along — that the fee would burden consumers.
    The grocery workers, in shifting to neutral, were said to favor a universal standard that could eliminate a patchwork of local bans and restrictions, almost all of which have been instituted by cities and counties along California’s coast — liberal country.
    Which, we suppose, explains why Victor Valley communities, and San Bernardino County itself, haven’t yet proposed any ban. Conservatives dislike government intrusion.
    But, as we said, the Assembly, with on again union support, Thursday approved SB270 on a 44-29 vote. It now heads to the Senate, where it must be approved by Sunday and has support from top Democrats who rejected a similar effort last year. If the Senate OKs it — an almost foregone conclusion, given that the grocery workers union has switched back to the support side — consumers will be subject to still another “fee” which is really another tax, albeit one that shoppers pay only if they fork over that dime per bag.
    Talk about being nickel and dimed to death... 

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