News Brief: New law forces people to ask for straws at restaurants

Assembly Bill 1884, which was signed into law by the governor last week, only applies to full service restaurants

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Assembly Bill 1884 bans full service restaurants operating in the state from providing plastic straws automatically when a customer is delivered their beverage. The measure applies only to restaurants where the customer is escorted to a seating area, where the beverage is delivered to the customer and where a customer receives a check at the table. The measure does not apply to fast food or buffet-style restaurants where customers get their own drinks. One glaring loophole: If restaurants change any of the procedures outlined in the bill — for example, by allowing customers to choose their own seats or forcing patrons to collect their checks at a welcome counter instead of delivering them to the table — the new law would not apply. But the bill leaves open the possibility that local ordinances could close some of these loopholes if municipal governments feel plastic straws are a pressing need in their communities. Health inspectors will be tasked with ensuring the new straw law is met. A first violation would come with a $25 fine for each day the restaurant is in violation with a $300 yearly cap on the fine. Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and State Senator Bill Dodd both voted in favor of the measure. In a statement last Thursdsay, Gov. Jerry Brown said the move was needed because plastic straws contribute to environmental pollution, though restaurant industry experts argued the exemption of fast food restaurants — the largest distributor of straws to customers — meant the law wouldn’t amount to much.]]>

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