The State of California will soon vote on two bills which will virtually eradicate the use of plastic bags in California. California currently has a law prohibiting fees on plastic bags (not paper), but outright bans are permitted provided the governmental agency does so through the appropriate channels. These appropriate channels permit plastic bags to be banned even if an environmental impact review concludes that paper is worse for the environment than plastic. In other words, bad policy is perfectly legal provided that the bureaucratic process is respected.
The first bill is titled AB 1998. AB 1998 will prohibit large retailers and chain stores after July 1, 2011, from providing any type of plastic carryout bag to a customer. These stores must instead provide reusable bags for a fee and paper bags for $0.25.