Lawmakers debated late into the final day of session Monday over two bills that would set aggressive goals for reducing single-use plastics for food containers, beverages and other consumer products.
This time the Assembly took up the debate, with SB 54, hours after it was pulled from the inactive file. While no members stood in opposition to the bill, Democrats struggled to gather enough votes, ultimately coming up just shy of enough to pass. Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego (above), author of a bill identical to SB 54, expressed how exhausting the two-year endeavor for the bills has been.
“I've been whipsawed on amendments since the day we introduced this,” she said. “I'm tired of making the case.”
Gonzalez was frustrated that after amending the bill to remove some farmers, agriculture groups remained in opposition. Several lawmakers said the bill would never be perfect, but the issue was too urgent to wait.
Asm. Laura Friedman of Glendale argued that residents are already paying higher costs for disposing of plastics and should not fear potentially higher prices for food and other products.
As far as the technology hurdles needed to meet the reduction goals, Asm. Kevin McCarthy of Sacramento said that “the Elon Musks of the world can figure it out.”