After some will-he-or-won't-he speculation, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed America's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags into law. "This bill is a step in the right direction—it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks, and even the vast ocean itself," the governor says. "We're the first to ban these bags, and we won't be the last." Grocery stores and pharmacies will be required to stop handing out disposable plastic bags and charge at least 10 cents for paper bags or reusable plastic bags by July 1 next year under the ban, with convenience stores and liquor stores following suit in 2016, NPR reports.
Within minutes of Brown signing the bill, the American Progressive Bag Alliance, a plastic bag industry group, vowed to try to get it overturned through a referendum in 2016, denouncing the law as a "backroom deal between the grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit," reports the Sacramento Bee. Many Californians, including residents of San Francisco and Los Angeles, are already living under plastic bag bans, and Hawaii—where every county has already brought in bag bans—is also working toward a statewide ban, reports the Los Angeles Times. (Read more plastic bags stories.)