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Giving Out Plastic Straws In Santa Barbara May Land You In Jail For 6 Months

SANTA BARBARA (CBS13) - Violating Santa Barbara's plastic straw ban could land you in jail for up to 6 months and a fine up to $1,000 per violation.

However, the City says it won't actually punish anyone that severely if they break the rule.

The City Council introduced the ordinance last week. It bans food and beverage providers from using, providing, distributing, and selling plastic straws, stirrers, and cutlery. Providers can use non-plastic alternatives, including paper, sugar cane, or bamboo; however, they can only offer them to customers if the customer requests a straw. The ordinance applies to food and drink consumed both on- and off-site.

The same rules would apply at City-sponsored events or in City facilities.

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There are exceptions to the rule, including if the food or beverage provider can prove a financial hardship, or in the event of a public health or safety requirement. Permission would also be granted for medical necessities. An exemption would also be granted if a local emergency is declared.

Providers would also be allowed to provide, or sell, a plastic straw, stirrer, or cutlery to those with a mental or physical disability.

Food and products made outside the City of Santa Barbara, but sold within city limits, would also be exempt from the ordinance.

As for the penalties for violating the new rule? A Santa Barbara spokesperson says the municipal code does state a violation could land the provider in jail for up to 6 months and lead to a fine up to $1,000; however, there are no plans to actually enforce that penalty. Instead, the city will do education and outreach in order to get providers to comply.

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You can read the ordinance HERE.

If it's passed it would go into effect at 2:01 am on January 1, 2019.

California may approve a plastic straw ban statewide. An Assembly bill would require dine-in restaurants provide single-use plastic straws only upon request.

Assemblyman Ian Calderon says plastic straws contribute to the buildup of trash in the oceans. Assemblyman Matthew Harper opposes the bill. The Huntington Beach Republican says it would make it harder for restaurants to do business in California and advocates punishing people who litter, instead.

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