SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – As the month of July begins, several new laws are going into effect across California.
One in Santa Barbara already got a lot of attention last year.
The city’s ban on single use plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery takes effect Monday, July 1. Santa Barbara City Council approved the ordinance last fall. Its goal is to keep plastic trash off the beach and out of the ocean.
Under the ordinance, businesses will still be able to provide plastic straws to those who need them because of a medical condition.
The ordinance applies to businesses that serve food and not the retail purchase of plastic straws. Those who violate the rule will be hit with a fine, but no felony or misdemeanor charges.
Like most bars and restaurants across the city, Shoreline Cafe has already transitioned to biodegradable straws. Management says customers are getting used to the change.
“We haven’t had plastic anything for about a year now,” general manager Cameron Pyles said. “I think people are more aware of what we’re trying to do or what everyone’s trying to do with being more environmentally conscious.”
Many places now offer paper-based straws. Others are investing in biodegradable plastic lookalikes.
“They don’t disintegrate in a smoothie,” says Jessica Townsend, manager at the Mesa’s Blenders in the Grass store. “You can’t drink a smoothie out of a cardboard straw very well.”
Across the entire state, summer road trips will get pricier. Another statewide gas tax kicks in Monday, adding nearly six cents per gallon.
The tax is part of a law raising money for road repairs. A measure that would have repealed the gas taxes was on last November’s ballot, but did not pass.
“Well, it’s just part of the economy today,” driver John Guidice said while filling up his truck. “Just part of what we have to deal with.”
Among the other new laws taking effect in California: mandatory background checks for those who buy ammunition.
Companies will now also have to tell people if they are speaking to an automated system, online or on the phone.