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Proposal to overturn California’s plastic grocery bag ban set to go on the ballot

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An effort to kill California’s first-in-the-nation state ban on single-use plastic grocery bags advanced this week after bag makers spent several million dollars on a campaign to gather signatures for a proposed ballot initiative to overturn it.

The ban, which was passed by the state Legislature and signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in the autumn, is widely supported by environmentalists, who say the bags contribute to litter and pollution. But the measure has triggered a harsh reaction from plastic bag manufacturers, who say their product can be easily recycled.

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“You just take it back to the grocery store and stuff it into a container and it gets recycled,” said Jon Barrier, a spokesman for the American Progressive Bag Alliance, which is funding the effort to repeal the ban.

The industry group contributed most of the $3 million spent to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to overturn the state’s ban, currently set to take effect next July. The organization said on Monday it had submitted more than 800,000 signatures to county governments, more than the 505,000 needed to place the measure on the ballot.

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

Dozens of cities and counties throughout the state have already implemented their own local bans.

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Mark Murray, a spokesman for a group supporting the statewide ban, said the plastics industry was trying to protect its revenues at California’s expense.

“Virtually all of the plastic bags sold in California are produced by just three out-of-state corporations,” Murray said in a statement. “And these corporations and their chemical suppliers have made it clear that they will do and say anything, and pay any price to continue to sell plastic bags into California.”

It is not clear whether the proposed referendum will actually make the ballot, because the state must confirm that 505,000 of the signatures submitted are valid. If it does so, implementation of the new law would be postponed until after the November 2016 election.

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Ironically, the incoming secretary of state who must check the signatures, Democrat Alex Padilla, authored the ban as a state senator and was the target of industry attack ads while running for statewide office this year.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Peter Cooney)


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Trump encourages China to take advantage of Jay Powell and Fed: They ‘don’t have a clue’

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President Donald Trump launched a new attack against his own Federal Reserve chairman in a pair of Monday morning tweets.

The president has been publicly pressuring Fed chairman Jerome Powell to lower interest rates in hopes of staving off a recession, but the Trump appointee has so far resisted his calls.

"Producer prices in China shrank most in 3 years due to China’s big devaluation of their currency, coupled with monetary stimulus," Trump tweeted. "Federal Reserve not watching? Will Fed ever get into the game? Dollar strongest EVER! Really bad for exports. No Inflation...Highest Interest Rates..."

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Internet pummels Trump for frantic demand to investigate Obama instead: ‘This is not the tweet of an innocent man’

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President Donald Trump jealously raged against Barack Obama's post-presidency business deals, which includes a production agreement with Netflix -- and other social media users ridiculed his apparent envy.

Trump questioned that deal and others in a pair of tweets complaining about an impeachment inquiry launched against him last week by the House Judiciary Committee, and he suggested Congress look at Obama's business since he left the White House.

....work that way. I have a better idea. Look at the Obama Book Deal, or the ridiculous Netflix deal. Then look at all the deals made by the Dems in Congress, the “Congressional Slush Fund,” and lastly the IG Reports. Take a look at them. Those investigations would be over FAST!

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Is the Trump administration squelching a whistleblower — and a major scandal?

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America's system of government has always worked on the honor system. With so few Senate-confirmed Cabinet and federal agency heads, and so many “acting” officials working in the Trump administration, people who are constantly forced to audition for permanent positions are now under tremendous pressure to protect a president hellbent on breaking every norm of good governance. Now a new possible political scandal could be brewing in the Trump administration that tests the loyalty of these “acting” officials — pitting their allegiance to the nation against their desire to impress their boss.

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