Los Angeles County Bag Ban Defense in Court


Chapter: West Los Angeles / Malibu
State: CA
Country: USA
Theme: Plastic Pollution
Launch Date: November 01 2012
Completion Date: May 15 2013
Status: Victory

On February 21, 2013, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed the lower court judgment in favor of Los Angeles County in defending their municipal bag ban ordinance from an attack brought by the plastics industry, including Hilex Poly Co., in Schmeer et al v. County of Los Angeles. Surfrider Foundation was proud to support the County's argument with a "friend of the court" amicus brief in this appellate case. The actual Appellate Court opinion focuses specifically on the Court’s discussion about whether the charge for paper bags is a fee or tax. The Court concluded that a charge that goes to a private entity (e.g. the store) can never be a “tax” under Proposition 26, even if the charge is compelled by the government. A "tax" is a fee that is recouped by the government and used for a government program. The Court offers a full discussion of the history of the meaning of “tax” under California law. The California Supreme Court denied the industry's request for appeal of the Appellate Court ruling on May 15, 2013.