Prop 65 - Sowing Confusion About the Plastic Bag Ban


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Note: Propositions 65 and 67 both deal with the statewide plastic bag ban established by a law passed in 2014, and much of the information about them is related and often presented together. See more about Proposition 67 at Prop 67 - Protect California's Plastic Bag Ban.

For background information on this measure, refer to the Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis included in the Official Voter Information Guide and the LWVCEF material available on Voter’s Edge California state election page.


League Analysis: 

PROPOSITION 65 is an initiative measure that was put on the ballot by the four major manufacturers of plastic bags – all from out of state. It is deceptive. It tries to appear environmentally friendly while in fact serving to distract voters from Proposition 67.

Proposition 65 would change where the revenue from the sale of biodegradable carry-out bags goes. It would no longer be retained by retailers, as provided by SB 270, but rather would go to a new state fund to be administered by the state Wildlife Conservation Board. The fund would be used to support (1) grants for programs and projects related to 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.

Although at first glance Proposition 65 may sound reasonable, in fact it adds bureaucratic complexity to manage a very small amount of money for efforts already supported by other state funds. Further, the position on the ballot of Proposition 65 is before Proposition 67, and both deal with plastic bags, which can be confusing to all but the most informed voter.

Campaign Funding: As of August 30, $2.872 million had been raised by the APBA (the four out-of-state manufacturers of plastic bags from South Carolina, Texas, and New Jersey) in support of Proposition 65 and opposition to Proposition 67. That sum is in addition to $3.258 million that the APBA raised while gathering signatures to place the referendum on the ballot. Funding in support of Proposition 67 was $1.199 million—66% from California, and most of the rest coming from grocers. (There was no organized campaign funding opposition to Proposition 65.) For more information on campaign funding see

Related Issues: 

Preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the ecosystem, with maximum protection of public health and the environment.