Jail Time for Plastic Straws? Proposed Ordinance Causes a Stir.

It’s official: plastic straws are the new plastic bags.

City after city, and even company after company, are suddenly adopting bans on the handy but environmentally unfriendly drinking devices -- a movement that first got its start in Seattle. But one municipal ordinance in particular is commanding the bulk of the attention for a very specific reason. That is, it could see violators thrown in jail.

As bans on plastic straws are cropping up in municipalities up and down the West Coast, Santa Barbara has escalated things with a ban that includes the possibility of jail time for repeat plastic straw-distributing offenders.

The Santa Barbara ordinance makes it illegal for businesses to hand out plastic straws, and they're also forbidden from handing out plastic cutlery without first confirming the customer wants it.

That news sent social media into an absolute tailspin last week. Even the president’s son weighed in.



The jail time angle may be the most outrageous, but it’s not the only one irking the public. Disability groups and businesses, especially those in the boba industry, say some of these ordinances are being approved without enough forethought. I mean, how the hell do you drink boba without a straw?

Fortunately, it isn’t a done deal just yet. Santa Barbara’s ordinance comes back for a final vote in September. Given all the negative press, we’re more than likely to see some changes.

Stay tuned.



Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 18:41

In 2017, the California State Legislature took sanctuary policies statewide with the passage of SB 54, or the California Values Act, which limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.