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California passes plastic bag ban, would be first such law in U.S.

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SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) – The California state legislature enacted a ban on plastic grocery bags on Friday near the end of its two-year session, a measure that if signed into law would become the first of its kind in America.

A number of cities and counties in California and other U.S. states, including Hawaii’s Maui County, have made it illegal for grocery stores to pack purchases in plastic. But at the state level, opposition from plastic bag makers has usually prevailed.

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The California Senate voted 22-15 for the bill, which must be signed into law by Sept. 30 by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who has not signaled a position on the measure.

“Single-use plastic bags not only litter our beaches, but also our mountains, our deserts, and our rivers, streams and lakes,” said state Senator Alex Padilla, who sponsored the bill.

Padilla backed a similar measure last year but it failed by three votes. The fate of this bill was uncertain until the waning hours of the session after falling three votes short in the state’s Assembly on Monday.

But after picking up the support of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, the bill passed a second vote in the Assembly.

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The measure would ban grocery stores from handing out single-use grocery bags with customers’ purchases, and provide money to local plastic bag companies to retool to make heavier, multiple-use bags that customers could buy.

Environmentalists have pushed for banning plastic bags, which are cheaper for supermarkets to use than paper bags, but create mountains of trash that is difficult to recycle. In California, there is particular concern that the bags, when swept out to sea, could harm ocean life.

After the defeat of his earlier bill, Padilla won the support of some California-based bag makers by including the funding for retooling. But in recent months, out-of-state manufacturers campaigned against the bill, even producing television advertisements targeting Padilla, who is running for secretary of state.

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Cathy Browne, general manager at Crown Poly, a plastic bag manufacturer in Huntington Park, California, said the bill would lead to layoffs at companies like hers.

More than 10 billion plastic bags are used in California each year, according to an estimate by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group supporting the bill.

By Aaron Mendelson, Reuters, 2014

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[image of firemen carrying plastic bags in CA via Reuters]


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Historians demolish John Yoo for claim Founding Fathers wouldn’t want Trump impeached in an election year

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Comments made by attorney and law professor John Yoo on Fox News on the Founding Father's intentions about impeachment received a brutal debunking by two historians -- including one of his colleagues at UC Berkeley.

Appearing with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, lawyer Yoo -- who is infamous for providing President George W. Bush's administration with legal justifications for the torture of prisoners of war -- claimed that the Founding Fathers would object to the president being impeached in an election year.

According to Yoo, Democrats are getting it all wrong when they say the Constitution compels them to hold impeachment proceedings against Trump just one year before the election.

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McConnell drops a surprise on Trump — calls for an even stronger resolution to rebuke him

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated he opposes the bill out of the House to denounce President Donald Trump's military withdrawal in Syria because it isn't tough enough, reported Bloomberg's Steven Dennis.

https://twitter.com/StevenTDennis/status/1184840222846148608

"My first preference is for something stronger than the House resolution," McConnell said according to Bloomberg's Laura Litvan.

She went on to say that McConnel wants a bill that outlines what action should take place in Syria.

McConnell said the House version was "curiously silent on the issue of whether to actually to sustain a U.S. military presence in Syria."

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Pelosi asks America to pray for Trump’s health after president suffers a ‘very serious meltdown’

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President Donald Trump's Twitter attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following an acrimonious White House meeting appears to have backfired spectacularly.

Trump tweeted a picture of the encounter Wednesday showing a standing Pelosi pointing at the president while he and everyone else in the room was seated, with the caption "Nervous Nancy's unhinged meltdown!"

However, far from being upset at the picture, Pelosi posted it as her Twitter banner, and her supporters said it showed her literally standing up to Trump.

"Can a woman beat Donald Trump? Yes. Speaker Pelosi does it every day," Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar said as she retweeted the picture.

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