AB 2058 will require retailers to meet a goal of 70% diversion of plastic bag useage in their stores by 2011. Meaning, they have to distribute 70% fewer plastic bags than they are now. If they don't meet that goal, they will have to charge a 25 cent fee per bag--for both plastic and paper. The proceeds from that fee will go to local litter clean-up. The bill will also allow local governments to charge an additional fee on bags if they choose to. Basically, the fee should make it more likely that people get into the habit of bringing their own reuseable bags to the store.
Living in Los Angeles, it's hard not to see the negative effects of disposable plastic bags. They get stuck in trees, litter the sides of highways and clog up storm drains. And if you look closer, things get even nastier. Recently, the Good Girls (and friends) did a LA River Clean-Up with FoLAR (Friends of the Los Angeles River). We spent about 3 hours picking up trash in a section of the river near my house. As soon as we got down to the river bed, I noticed the plastic bags everywhere. They were wrapped around almost every single tree branch, bush and log. It was pretty disgusting. I think anyone who spent 5 minutes by the LA River would immediately understand why disposable plastic shopping bags have got to go.
I have already sent a message to my state representative asking him to support AB 2058. If you want to do the same, you can look up your representive here. Or, you can let Heal the Bay contact your representative for you by going to their website.