Restaurant servers who give customers plastic drinking straws they haven't asked for will have to suck up a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine or six months in prison under a controversial bill in California. The bill was introduced in the State Assembly by Majority Leader Ian Calderon last week, and the Democrat says it will eventually be amended to drop the harsh penalties, 10News reports. "The penalties are attached to the code section the bill is currently in," he said when asked about the fines. "That will change. Amendments are part of the legislative process." The proposed ban on handing out straws without being asked will apply only to sit-down restaurants, not fast-food outlets or bars.
In a tweet, Calderon said the "Straws Upon Request" bill "is (a) NOT a ban; (b) should it become law, it will NOT make it a crime for servers to provide plastic straws. My intention is simply to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic straws on our environment." Calderon, whose office noted in a press release that some 500 million plastic straws are thrown away in the US every day and that they're one of the most common items collected in coastal cleanups, says the bill is part of wider efforts to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in waterways and the ocean, KTLA reports. (California banned single-use plastic bags in 2014.)