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Plastic Bag Ban: Officials, Environmentalists Make Last Pitch Before State Senate Takes a Vote

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Sunday morning shoppers at Vons in Wilshire Center had an unusual sight to see from the checkout line. Feet away from them were TV cameras, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others talking about Assembly Bill 1998, known to many as the plastic bag ban.

AB 1998, which would ban single-use plastic and paper bags from supermarkets, liquor stores, pharmacies and other small food stores by 2013, must go before a State Senate vote before the end of Tuesday, when the legislative session ends. Under the legislation, customers without reusable bags will be charged for the cost of a recycled 40% post-consumer paper bag, but those on government assistance programs will get those bags for free. If approved, followed by the Assembly concurrence vote, it will head to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has already publicly supported the bill.

But there's no way of telling how the vote in the State Senate will go. As Dan Aiello at the California Progress Report said, it may be "this year's most memorable legislative fight in Sacramento..."