New California Bill Wants to Make Plastic Straws Illegal, Could Face up to Six Months in Jail

January 30, 2018 Updated: January 30, 2018

A proposed Californian bill is making it illegal for restaurant servers to give customers plastic straws unless requested—and carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine or jail time.

Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who introduced the bill this month said the purpose of the bill is to “create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans,” reported USA Today.

The bill, which was introduced on Jan. 17, will be added to an existing code, which establishes regulations on retail food facilities and will prohibit food facilities from “providing single-use plastic straws to consumers unless requested by the consumer.” The proposed changes will only apply to locations where food is consumed on premises such as sit-down restaurants, and not bars and fast food where food is taken away.

Any violation could be punishable by a fine between $25 and $1,000, or by a jail term of up to six months, or both.

Calderon said further changes would be made to the bill to remove the possibility of a fine or jail term, reported USA Today.

The assemblyman also defended his bill on Twitter—the proposed changes are not a ban on plastic straws and will not make it a crime for servers to provide plastic straws.

Many online critics were concerned about the application of the proposed changes and the harsh penalties.

“AB 1884 is not a ban on plastic straws,” Calderon said in the statement, reported USA Today.

“It is a small step toward curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage,” he added.


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