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California Close to Ban on Plastic Grocery Bags

Key California legislators have reached an agreement that could lead to a statewide ban on carry-out plastic bags at supermarkets, liquor stores and pharmacies by 2016.

Lawmakers in Sacramento have debated similar proposals for years, facing opposition from manufacturers that produce billions of plastic shopping bags each year.

The agreement on Thursday calls for using $2 million for loans and grants that could help those companies retrain workers and convert to manufacturing "a new generation of reusable bags with the smallest environmental footprint," a summary of the legislation said.

Los Angeles and nearly 100 other cities and counties in the state have enacted bans on single-use plastic bags at stores. If approved by the Legislature, the bill would extend a similar prohibition across the rest of the state.

The bill summary says supermarkets would have to stop using the bags by July 2015, and the ban would extend to smaller stores a year later. With plastic bags prohibited, stores could sell recycled-paper or reusable bags for at least 10 cents each.

- The Associated Press