June 29, 2016
Contact: Lisa Page, 916-288-2208, Lisa.Page@edelman.com
ENVIRONMENTAL FEE PROTECTION ACT QUALIFIES FOR 2016 CALIFORNIA BALLOT
Initiative Seeing Wide Voter Support
Sacramento, Calif. – Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced today the qualification of the “Environmental Protection Fee Act,” a ballot measure to redirect state-mandated sales charges on carryout bags to an environmental fund. The qualification follows a signature check conducted by California County Registrars’ offices, and will be the second measure on the November 2016 ballot that aims to stop corporate grocers from profiting off Senate Bill 270 at the expense of California families. The legislation, which passed in 2014, bans plastic retail bags and requires grocers to charge – and keep – a minimum 10 cents for each paper and thicker plastic bag provided to California customers.
“Senate Bill 270 has never been about the protecting the environment. That is why a ‘yes’ vote on this ballot measure is so important,” said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance. “This measure gives voters the opportunity to make sure that any state-mandated fee will go to environmental causes, which is what voters thought they were getting in the first place with SB 270. The initiative qualified with strong support stemming from a public upset with politicians for supporting special interests by giving away billions of their hard-earned tax dollars.”
The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) submitted 592,291 signatures on May 20 to qualify the referendum. County Registrars’ offices performed a signature check where at least 402,468 valid signatures were needed to qualify by random sampling and today that threshold was exceeded.
“Our goal is to make sure voters are well-informed about how these fees impact California jobs and their wallets,” Califf said. “Californians should know exactly where their tax dollars are going and be able to make their voices heard at the ballot box in November 2016. With polling showing 84 percent of California voters in support of bag fees going to a public purpose instead of increasing profit margins for grocers, we have no doubt California voters will see the benefits of voting yes.”
The first ballot measure the APBA qualified in February 2015 repeals the plastic bag ban altogether. The APBA is committed to making sure California voters are well-informed of the impacts of both the SB 270 referendum and Environmental Fee Protection Act initiative before voting in November.
Should the referendum fail in November 2016 and SB 270 becomes law, the Environmental Fee Protection Act provides voters – regardless of their opinion on plastic bags – the ability to redirect bag fees associated with the law to an environmental fund. It also gives municipal governments the option to amend existing local ordinances to direct bag fees to the environmental fund, rather than to grocers.
About the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA)
The American Progressive Bag Alliance was founded in 2005 to represent the United States’ plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector, employing 30,800 employees in 349 communities across the nation. APBA promotes the responsible use, reuse, recycling and disposal of plastic bags and advocates for American-made plastic products as the best environmental choice at check out—for both retailers and consumers.