A Los Angeles County superior court judge ruled against a legal challenge to the county's plastic bag ban last week, according to a press release from County Supervisor Gloria Molina.
The legal challenge was made by a group that included South Carolina plastic manufacturer Hilex-Poly, which argued that law violates state Proposition 26, which prevents a tax from being disguised as a fee.
The county's ban includes a 10 cent charge on brown paper bags, which the lawsuit contended was effectively a tax.
Molina wrote in a press release that she views that ruling as a victory for the county. She said the fee was never meant as a way to collect revenue for the county.
"At issue was the fundamental legality of Los Angeles County’s plastic bag ordinance, and I am very pleased Judge Chalfant decided in our favor. The purpose of the ten-cent charge was to incentivize consumers to shop with more environmental awareness while preventing merchants from having to take on yet another financial burden – particularly during rough economic times. We did not want to generate funds for the county – nor did we want to surreptitiously supplement the county’s coffers," wrote Molina.
Part of the manufacturer's case against the county were charges that there was no oversight into what stores would do with the 10-cent per bag fee.
The L.A. Weekly reported Tuesday, quoting a county official, that those charges are largely true: stores keep the 10-cent per bag fee, and while they are supposed to use it promote recycling of bags and the use of reusable bags, the paper reports there is no oversight for the program.
With plastic bags banned, and the charge on brown paper bags, the only way to avoid charges at major La Crescenta grocery stores is to carry away groceries with reusable bags.
The ban that went into affect on July 1 affects larger grocery stores like Super King, and the major grocery store chains like , and in January, that ban was expanded to smaller stores.