California becomes first state to bar restaurants from automatically handing out plastic straws

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People who want straws with their drinks at California restaurants will have to ask for them under a new state law.

People who want straws with their drinks at California restaurants will have to ask for them under a new state law.

The law signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown makes California the first state to bar full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. It takes effect next year.

The law doesn't ban plastic straws outright like some cities have.

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A bill heading to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk would prevent restaurants from giving out plastic straws unless requested by customers.



Restaurants that don't comply will get two warnings before being fined up to $300 per year. It will apply only to full-service restaurants, not fast food establishments.

Democratic lawmakers who support the law call it a small step toward reducing ocean pollution.

Critics argue California's new law is government overreach that won't significantly improve the environment. Some say restricting straws hurts disabled people who rely on them.
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