MANHATTAN BEACH, CA - AUGUST 21: The wind blows a plastic bag around the beach near the Manhattan Beach Pier on August 21, 2008 in the Los Angeles area city of Manhattan Beach, California. A group of about 10 plastic manufacturers and retailers calling themselves the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition has filed suit against the city of Manhattan Beach over a ban on plastic bags given out by stores. Ironically, the group is asking a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge to block the ban on grounds that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act by not fully analyzing the environmental effects of such a ban. The ban comes on the heels of a policy recently approved by the Los Angeles City Council to ban plastic bags in their city by 2010 if the state does not impose a 25-cent fee on shoppers who request plastics carrying bags. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Lawmakers came to a late-night decision over California's proposed ban on plastic shopping bags -- bag the ban.
Lawmakers rejected a bill Tuesday that would have banned the bags after a debate over whether the state was going too far in trying to regulate personal choice. It would have been the first statewide ban, although a few cities already prohibit their use.
The Democratic bill had been the subject of a furious lobbying campaign by the plastic bag manufacturing industry, which called it a job killer.
The Senate took final action at the end of the legislative session. The bill received just 14 votes in the Senate, seven short of the majority it needed to pass.
The Senate vote failed at about 11 p.m.
"I think we missed a great opportunity," the measure's author, Julia Brownley (D- Santa Monica), told the LA Times.
Supporters of AB1998 said the 19 billion plastic bags Californians use every year harm the environment, and some local government officials are ready to continue the debate. According to Heal the Bay, officials in Los Angeles County, Redondo Beach and Santa Monica said they would pursue individual city- and county-wide bans in the coming months.