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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for the state of California.
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— Money from Carry-Out BagsCarry-Out Bags. Charges.Initiative Statute

November 8, 2016California General Election

State of California
Prop. 65 — Money from Carry-Out Bags Initiative Statute - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Failed

6,222,547 votes yes (46.1%)

7,276,478 votes no (53.9%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (24,847/24,847).

Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through mandated sale of carryout bags. Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund to support specified environmental projects. 

Proposition 65 Contributions Data

Note on Methodology
Information provided by The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

The way it is now

Many cities and counties have laws preventing grocery stores and some other retail stores from handing out single-use plastic bags. Some of these laws require stores to charge for paper and reusable bags, and allow the stores to keep the money made from selling the bags. In 2014, a law was passed that would ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and some other retails stores across the state, but it has not gone into effect. Voters will decide if the ban should go into effect across the whole state when they vote on Prop 67, a different proposition on this ballot. If Prop 67 passes, stores would also be required to charge 10 cents for other types of carry-out bags made of paper, or thicker, reusable plastic. Under Prop 67, stores would get to keep the money made from selling these 10-cent bags.

What if it passes?

Prop 65 could change the way money from selling carry-out bags is used. Instead of keeping the money made from each 10-cent bag, stores would be required to put the money into a state account. This money would be used for many different environmental projects, including recycling and clean drinking water. Money would also go toward cleaning up beaches and improving parks.

 

 

Budget effect

This measure could produce tens of millions of dollars for environmental programs. It is not clear what will happen until after the election. The effect on the state budget will depend on whether Prop 67 passes. If both propositions 65 and 67 pass, and 65 gets the most votes, then the money would go to the state account.

People FOR say

  • Grocery stores should not get to keep the money made from selling bags.
  •  Prop 65 would make sure the money collected from selling bags goes to help the environment.

People AGAINST say

  • Voters should support Prop 67 instead. The most important thing is getting rid of plastic bags.
  • Prop 65 will not make very much money for the state because people will start bringing their own bags.

 

Information provided by The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

The Question

If a statewide ban on single-use carry-out grocery bags is enacted, and stores are required to offer reusable bags for sale, should the money from the sale of those bags go to a special fund for environmental purposes?

The Situation

The Legislature passed a ban on single-use bags in 2014, which would have gone into effect on July 1, 2015; however, its implementation was suspended in February 2015 when a referendum qualified for the state ballot. The referendum appears elsewhere on this ballot as Proposition 67. The ban passed by the Legislature required that stores offer to sell reusable bags and charge at least 10 cents apiece for those bags (except to low-income customers). Stores would be allowed to keep that money, and to use it for certain specified purposes, such as covering the costs of providing carryout bags. 

The Proposal

Proposition 65 would redirect money collected by stores through the sale of reusable bags, whenever any state law bans free distribution of single-use bags and mandates the sale of any other kind of carry-out bag. Proposition 65 would create a new state fund, administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board, and require stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into that fund to support certain environmental projects. Proposition 65 would only be implemented if the Legislature’s bag ban is upheld by the voters’ approval of Proposition 67, or if a future, similar, bag ban is passed.

Proposition 65 would apply statewide, including to the approximately 150 California cities and counties that have their own single-use carryout bag laws.

If both Proposition 65 and 67 pass, the one with the most votes would prevail. Thus, if Proposition 67 receives the most votes, the 10-cent fee would be retained by the stores; if Proposition 65 receives the most votes, the 10-cent fee would go to the environmental fund. 

 

Fiscal effect

If voters uphold the bag ban by approving Proposition 67, and also pass Proposition 65 by more votes than Proposition 67, potential revenues for certain environmental programs could reach tens of millions of dollars annually.

If voters uphold the bag ban by passing Proposition 67 and also pass Proposition 65 by fewer votes than Proposition 67, there would be minor fiscal effects.

If voters reject the bag ban in Proposition 67, and pass Proposition 65, there would be no immediate fiscal effect. However, any future statewide bag ban could trigger the provisions of Proposition 65.

 

Supporters say

  • Grocery stores should not be allowed to profit from the sale of reusable bags to consumers, who are prevented from getting free bags.
  •  A bag ban’s goal is environmentalism, so any money customers pay for reusable bags should go to environmental purposes, not to the stores.

Opponents say

  • Grocery stores would not profit from the sale of reusable bags, which cost up to 15 cents apiece to produce.
  • Proposition 65's only purpose is to distract from the real issue at hand, phasing out plastic bags, which is the real priority for the environment. 

Summary

  • Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through sale of carryout bags, whenever any state law bans free distribution of a particular kind of carryout bag and mandates the sale of any other kind of carryout bag.
  • Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board to support specified categories of environmental projects.
  • Provides for Board to develop regulations implementing law.

 

SUMMARY OF LEGISLATIVE ANALYST’S ESTIMATE OF NET STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FISCAL IMPACT:

  • Potential state revenue of several tens of millions of dollars annually under certain circumstances. Revenue would be used to support certain environmental programs.
— Attorney General of California

Background

Carryout Bag Usage. Stores typically provide their customers with bags to carry out the items they buy. One type of bag commonly provided is the “single-use plastic carryout bag,” which refers to a thin plastic bag used at checkout that is not intended for continued reuse. In contrast, “reusable plastic bags” are thicker and sturdier so that they can be reused many times. Many stores also provide single-use paper bags. Stores frequently provide single-use paper and plastic carryout bags to customers for free, and some stores offer reusable bags for sale. Each year, roughly 15 billion single-use plastic carryout bags are provided to customers in California (an average of about 400 bags per Californian).

Many Local Governments Restrict Single-Use Carryout Bags. Many cities and counties in California have adopted local laws in recent years restricting or banning single-use carryout bags. These local laws have been implemented due to concerns about how the use of such bags can impact the environment. For example, plastic bags can contribute to litter and can end up in waterways. In addition, plastic bags can be difficult to recycle because they can get tangled in recycling machines. Most of these local laws ban single-use plastic carryout bags at grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores. They also usually require the store to charge at least 10 cents for the sale of any carryout bag. Stores are allowed to keep the resulting revenue. As of June 2016, there were local carryout bag laws in about 150 cities and counties—covering about 40 percent of California’s population—mostly in areas within coastal counties.

Statewide Carryout Bag Law. In 2014, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a statewide carryout bag law, Senate Bill (SB) 270. Similar to many local laws, SB 270 prohibits most grocery stores, convenience stores, large pharmacies, and liquor stores in the state from providing single-use plastic carryout bags. It also requires a store to charge customers at least 10 cents for any carryout bag that it provides at checkout. Certain low-income customers would not have to pay the charge. Under SB 270, stores would retain the revenue from the sale of the bags. They could use the proceeds to cover the costs of providing carryout bags, complying with the measure, and educational efforts to encourage the use of reusable bags. These requirements would apply only to cities and counties that did not already have their own carryout bag laws as of the fall of 2014.

Referendum on SB 270. Under the State Constitution, a new state law can be placed before voters as a referendum to determine whether the law can go into effect. A referendum on SB 270 qualified for this ballot (Proposition 67). If the referendum passes, SB 270 will go into effect. If it does not pass, SB 270 will be repealed.

— Legislative Analyst's Office

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Redirects Carryout Bag Revenue to New State Environmental Fund. This measure specifies how revenue could be used that resulted from any state law that (1) prohibits giving certain carryout bags away for free and (2) requires a minimum charge for other types of carryout bags. Specifically, this measure requires that the resulting revenue be deposited in a new state fund—the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund—for various environmental purposes rather than be retained by stores. The fund would be used to support grants for programs and projects related to (1) drought mitigation; (2) recycling; (3) clean drinking water supplies; (4) state, regional, and local parks; (5) beach cleanup; (6) litter removal; and (7) wildlife habitat restoration. The measure allows a small portion of these funds to be used for grant administration and biennial audits of the programs receiving funds.

Other ProvisionsAdditionally, the measure allows local governments to require that money collected from local carryout bag laws go to the new state fund rather than allowing that revenue to be kept by stores. It also includes a provision regarding the implementation of this measure and any other carryout bag measure on this ballot. This provision could be interpreted by the courts as preventing Proposition 67 (the referendum on SB 270) from going into effect. This provision would only have an effect if both measures pass and this measure (Proposition 65) gets more “yes” votes. However, this analysis assumes that in this situation the provisions of Proposition 67 not related to the use of revenues—such as the requirement to ban single-use plastic carryout bags and charge for other bags—would still be implemented.

Financial effect

If the requirements of this measure (that there is a state law prohibiting giving certain carryout bags away for free and requiring a minimum charge for other bags) are met, then there would be increased state revenue for certain environmental programs. This revenue could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually. The actual amount of revenue could be higher or lower based on several factors, particularly future sales and prices of carryout bags.

At the present time, there is no state law in effect that meets this measure’s requirements. As such, there would be no fiscal effect as long as that continued. As noted earlier, however, Proposition 67 on this ballot would enact such a state law. If both Proposition 67 and this measure (Proposition 65) pass, the impact on the state would depend on which one receives the most votes:

  • Proposition 67 (Referendum) Receives More Votes. In this situation, revenue collected by the stores would be kept by the stores and there would not be a fiscal impact on the state related to Proposition 65.
  • Proposition 65 (Initiative) Receives More Votes. In this situation, any revenue collected by stores from the sale of carryout bags would be transferred to the new state fund, with the increased state revenue used to support certain environmental programs.

In addition, if only this measure passes and Proposition 67 fails (which means there would not currently be a statewide law to which this measure would apply), there could still be a fiscal impact if a state carryout bag law was enacted in the future. Figure 1 shows how this measure would be implemented differently depending on different voter decisions..

Figure 1

— Legislative Analyst's Office

YES vote means

If state law (1) prohibits giving customers certain carryout bags for free and (2) requires a charge for other types of carryout bags, the resulting revenue would be deposited in a new state fund to support certain environmental programs.

NO vote means

If charges on carryout bags are required by a state law, that law could direct the use of the resulting revenue toward any purpose.

Arguments FOR

STOP THE SWEETHEART BAG TAX DEAL. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT

Proposition 65 is needed to STOP grocery stores from keeping all the money collected from carryout bag taxes as profit instead of helping the environment.

Grocery stores stand to gain up to $300 million in added profits each and every year unless you vote yes on Prop. 65.

That money should be dedicated to the environment, not more profits for corporate grocery chains.

Proposition 65 will STOP THE SWEETHEART DEAL WITH GROCERY STORES and dedicate bag fees to worthy environmental causes.

A SWEETHEART DEAL IN SACRAMENTO

Who in their right mind would let grocery stores keep $300 million in bag fees paid by hardworking California shoppers just trying to make ends meet?

The State Legislature!

In a sweetheart deal put together by special interest lobbyists, the Legislature voted to let grocery stores keep bag fees as extra profit.

The grocery stores will get $300 million richer while shoppers get $300 million poorer.

SHAME ON THE LOBBYISTS AND LEGISLATORS

The big grocery store chains and retailers gave big campaign contributions to legislators over the past seven years.

And legislators rewarded them with $300 million in new profits—all on the backs of shoppers.

Stop the sweetheart special interest deal . . . VOTE YES ON PROP. 65.

A BETTER WAY TO HELP THE ENVIRONMENT

You can do what the legislators should have done— dedicate these bag fees to real projects that protect the environment.

Proposition 65 dedicates the bag fees to environmental projects like drought relief, beach clean-up and litter removal.

It puts the California Wildlife Conservation Board in control of these funds, not grocery store executives, so Californians will benefit.

PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT. STOP THE SWEETHEART DEAL AND HIDDEN BAG TAX. VOTE YES ON PROP. 65.

THOMAS HUDSON, Executive Director
California Taxpayer Protection Committee

DEBORAH HOWARD, Executive Director
California Senior Advocates League 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Arguments AGAINST

THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROP. 65 IS TO CONFUSE VOTERS

Prop. 65 promises a lot but—in reality—will deliver little for the environment. It was placed on the ballot by four out-of-state plastic bag companies who keep interfering with California’s efforts to reduce plastic pollution.

65 is without real significance, designed to distract from the issue at hand: phasing out plastic shopping bags. All 65 would do is direct funding from the sale of paper bags (an option under the plastic bag ban) to a new state fund. The money for this fund is a drop in the bucket and will shrink over time as people adjust to bringing reusable bags.

TO ACTUALLY PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT, VOTE YES ON 67

The priority for California’s environment this election is to reduce harmful plastic pollution by voting Yes on Prop. 67. This will continue efforts to keep wasteful plastic shopping bags out of our parks, trees, neighborhoods and treasured open spaces.

Prop. 65 is not worth your vote. Make your voice heard on the more important issues and uphold California’s vital plastic bag ban further down the ballot.

MARK MURRAY, Executive Director
Californians Against Waste 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Replies to Arguments FOR

The San Jose Mercury News calls Proposition 65 a “tricky strategy” and adds “Prop. 65 deserves consideration as one of the most disingenuous ballot measures in state history.”

The out-of-state plastic manufacturers behind Prop. 65 don’t care about protecting California’s environment. They want to confuse you. Don’t be fooled.

Bags aren’t free; they cost your local grocer up to 15 cents each. The out-of-state plastic bag industry figures are bogus. The state’s nonpartisan analysis projects that total revenue from Prop. 65 is in the range of “zero” to, at best, $80 million.

Remember: there will be “zero” funding for the environment from Prop. 65 unless voters approve Prop. 67 to phase out plastic bags.

But the plastic manufacturers behind Prop. 65 are spending millions to persuade voters to oppose Prop. 67. Confused? That’s the plastic industry’s plan! If you care about protecting wildlife and standing up to the out-of-state plastic bag industry, Vote Yes on Prop. 67, not this measure.

If you care about reducing plastic pollution, litter and waste, Vote Yes on Prop. 67, not this measure. If you care about reducing taxpayer costs for cleaning up plastic litter, Vote Yes on Prop. 67, not this measure.

MARK MURRAY, Executive Director
Californians Against Waste 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

The opponents of Prop. 65 want to dismiss it as “of no real significance”.

YOU DECIDE: IS A $300 MILLION MONEY GRAB BY GROCERY STORES NOT SIGNIFICANT?

Without Prop. 65, not one penny of the $300 million customers will be required to pay if California’s ban on plastic bags goes into effect will help the environment.

All $300 million will go to grocery store profits. THAT’S $300 MILLION EVERY YEAR!

VOTE YES ON 65—STOP THE SWEETHEART GIVEAWAY TO GROCERS.

In a sweetheart deal put together by special interest lobbyists, the Legislature voted to BAN plastic bags and REQUIRE grocery stores keep bag fees as profit.

Their “plastic bag ban” REQUIRES grocery stores to charge every consumer given a bag at check-out no less than 10 cents per bag.

They could have banned plastic bags without a fee or dedicated fees to environmental projects.

They didn’t.

Instead, they made grocery stores $300 million richer and shoppers $300 million poorer every year.

A BETTER WAY TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT.

You can do what the Legislature should have done—dedicate bag fees to projects that protect the environment.

Prop. 65 dedicates bag fees to environmental projects like drought relief, beach clean-up and litter removal.

It puts the California Wildlife Conservation Board in control of these funds, not grocery store executives.

PROP. 65 WILL DEDICATE BAG FEES TO THE ENVIRONMENT.

It’s simple and significant.

Join us—vote YES.

THOMAS HUDSON, Executive Director
California Taxpayer Protection Committee

DEBORAH HOWARD, Executive Director
California Senior Advocates League

 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Yes on Prop. 65

Total money raised: $2,888,883
Bar graph showing total amount relative to total amount for this entire campaign.

No on Prop. 65

No data currently available.
Bar graph showing total amount relative to total amount for this entire campaign.

Below are the top 10 contributors that gave money to committees supporting or opposing the ballot measures.

Yes on Prop. 65

1
Hilex Poly Co LLC
$1,082,239
2
Formosa Plastics
$748,442
3
Superbag
$609,370
4
Advance Polybag
$446,833
5
RESTORE CALIFORNIA - JIM FRAZIER BALLOT MEASURE COMMITTEE
$2,000

No on Prop. 65

Yes on Prop. 65

By State:

South Carolina 37.46%
Texas 36.56%
New Jersey 25.91%
California 0.07%
37.46%36.56%25.91%

By Size:

Large contributions (100.00%)
Small contributions (0.00%)
100.00%

By Type:

From organizations (100.00%)
From individuals (0.00%)
100.00%

No on Prop. 65

Proposition 65 Contributions Data

Note on Methodology

There may be discrepancies between Voter's Edge campaign finance data and other sources, such as the Secretary of State's Quick Guide to Propositions, due to differences in methodology. See How we get our data for more information.

Yes on Prop. 65
Yes on 65
Email info@SayYesOn65.com
Address:
2350 Kerner Blvd.
Suite 250
San Rafael, CA 94901
No on Prop. 65
Mark Murray Californians Against Waste
Email murray@cawrecycles.org
Phone: (916) 443-5422
Address:
921 11th Street
Ste. 420
Sacramento, CA 95814
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