February 23, 2018 By Wallin & Klarich

Lawmakers introduce new bills every year meant to protect citizens. However, one recently proposed law meant to protect the environment has drawn a lot of attention.

Being referred to as the “Straw Law,” Assembly Bill 1884 would reportedly punish restaurant employees for providing patrons with a plastic straw for their drinks. Would California lawmakers really punish waiters for giving out straws? Let’s explore the truth about the proposed Straw Law.

What the Proposed “Straw Law” Would Do (AB 1884)

Authored by Assemblyman Ian Calderon, Assembly Bill 1884 would prohibit food facilities and restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws to customers unless the customer specifically requests a straw.

According to the bill’s author, the goal of the law is to create awareness of the “detrimental effects” one-time use plastic straws have on landfills, waterways and oceans.

Would the Straw Law Punish Waiters for Handing Out Straws?

The reason the Straw Law received so much attention is because the proposed law would have reportedly punished restaurant workers for handing out straws unless they were requested by the customer.

Technically, that was true. The original language of the bill would have amended Health and Safety Code Section 114082 to include the Straw Law. Violations of HSC 114082 carry up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.

However, Calderon said it was never his intent to punish anyone for violating the law.

“I didn’t actually ask for penalties,” Calderon said to ABC News. “They were more or less prescribed to my bill by the code section.” The bill’s purpose is to curb the use of the estimated 500 million plastic straws used by the United States every day.

The bill has since been amended so that it no longer relates to HSC 114082, which means waiters and restaurant workers would not face consequences for providing straws to customers.

What’s Next for the Straw Law?

Now that the bill has been amended to remove the punishment for violating the Straw Law, it must be approved by the California Senate and State Assembly. If approved, it will move on to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for approval.

Calderon is confident that the bill will reach Gov. Brown’s desk for approval in about two months due to the success of similar laws in smaller areas.

In Alameda, local straw upon request ordinances have already been put in place. Restaurants have reported spending less money on straws as a result. The cities of Davis and San Luis Obispo also passed restrictions on straws in 2017, while more than 100 restaurants in San Diego have entered a program to reduce plastic straw waste.

What Do You Think About California’s Straw Upon Request Law?

When you go to a restaurant, do you think you should have to request a straw in order to receive one? Would passing the Straw Upon Request Law help reduce waste or would it just waste time? Do you like drinking from straws or straight from the glass?

Wallin & Klarich wants to hear what you think about this topic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Call us now at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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