While I'm sure many ignorant people will look at this as more goofiness from 'Lalaland' the reality is any law or regulation needs to have a punishment attached to it and it seems all the California legislature did was make this a standard misdemeanor that is subject to those penalties.The other reality is that plastic straws are one of the leading causes of pollution as apparently 500 million plastic straws are used each day. (Sounds a bit high to me) but even if it's just 50 million you can imagine how they'd accumulate.There have been stories posted on this site about the 'plastic islands' in the oceans and plastic straws are one of the main causes for them. The rather unnecessary use of plastic for frivolous things like straws is, in fact, a major worldwide problem.https://www.strawlessocean.org/faq/
I'm OK with taking action, but let's attack this problems through the manufacturers, restaurant chains and c-store chains rather than placing the onus on the minimum wage employees.
I'm not sure what options were available to the California legislature, keeping in mind that California is still, after all, just a state government.The article I linked to points out why plastic straws, unlike plastic bags can't simply be banned. Some people genuinely need to use straws and it seems there aren't obvious alternatives to plastic straws like there are with plastic bags. So, in terms of the manufacturers, I don't know if the California state government (or any government) could say "we want to phase out straws made with plastic in X number of years."In the case of the restaurant owners, managers, executives, I don't know if they could be held responsible for an employee giving a plastic straw to a diner when it wasn't requested.Of course, that then gets to the issue of how this law can be enforced in the first place. Certainly I hope it is part of an education campaign to restaurant owners, managers and staff to get them to understand the genuine environmental problems that plastic straws cause.