The California Assembly is set to hold a final vote this week on Assembly Bill 1998, legislation that would ban plastic and paper shopping bags at supermarkets, retailers, and conveniences stores statewide.

As I pointed out in a piece that ran in Big Government last month, all of the claims and assertions made by bag ban proponents are either false or without merit. First, there is no proof that a bag ban will provide any environmental benefit or reduce litter. In fact, after San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban plastic bags in 2007, litter audits found plastic bags comprised a greater percentage of street litter after the ban. The stated goal of this legislation is to “reduce the environmental….and societal costs resulting from the production, use, and discard of single-use plastic carryout bags.” If that is the case, it should be incumbent upon AB 1998’s proponents to show support for their claim that a bag ban will improve the environment and reduce litter. They have not.

It’s hard to imagine California becoming even less business friendly, but that would be the result if AB 1998 is passed. In addition to creating a whole new series of regulatory hurdles and bureaucratic red tape for businesses to contend with, this bill would create what amounts to a veritable reusable bag Gestapo, authorized to go around to supermarkets and retailers to test reusable bags in order to make sure they meet the requirements of AB 1998 and assess penalties and fines.

This bill, in conjunction with the billions in higher taxes Assembly Democrats have called for, is sending a clear message to employers (both present and prospective) that California is not a good place start a business, invest, or create jobs and only looks to get worse based on the proposals coming out of Sacramento.

Friday is the deadline by which all bills must be passed out of their chamber of origin. So if the Assembly doesn’t pass AB 1998 this week, it’s dead. ATR urges Californians to contact their representatives in the Assembly today and tell them to vote “NO” on AB 1998. To do so, simply CLICK HERE.