California Lawmaker Wants to Jail People for Plastic Straws

The proposal is jail time and a thousand dollar fine for give plastic straws to customers without them asking for one.

Plastic straws are a great crisis in California—greater than illegal immigrants or underfunded pensions, apparently–because the state legislator may jail and fine restaurants that provide a straw with a drink if the customer doesn’t specifically request a straw, first. They think straws are somehow dangerous and that jail time is appropriate for those who distribute them.’s Hit & Run blog reports, “California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws.”

Calderon wants restaurateurs to think long and hard before giving you a straw.

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Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house, has introduced a bill to stop sit-down restaurants from offering customers straws with their beverages unless they specifically request one. Under Calderon’s law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans,” Calderon explained in a press release.

This isn’t just Calderon’s crusade. The California cities of San Luis Obispo and Davis both passed straws-on-request laws last year, and Manhattan Beach maintains a prohibition on all disposable plastics. And up in Seattle, food service businesses won’t be allowed to offer plastic straws or utensils as of July.

The Los Angeles Times has gotten behind the movement, endorsing straws-on-request policies in an editorial that also warned that “repetitive sucking may cause or exacerbate wrinkles on the lips or around the mouth.”

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