California lawmakers have an inexplicable tolerance for letting illegal immigrants with violent criminal records roam the streets, but at least they’re cracking down on the real menace to society: waiters who give you straws you didn’t ask for.
Ian Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house, has introduced a bill that would make it a violation of the California Retail Food Code for a restaurant server to give a diner a plastic straw that was not requested. Violating that statute can bring a fine of $25 to $1000 or even jail time.
If you look behind virtually any crackpot law in California, you’ll find environmentalists, and such is the case here. It’s based on the claim that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day, and their manufacture and disposal are damaging Mother Earth -- enough, I suppose that waiters should be jailed to stop it (I think L.A. waiters should be jailed before they can become movie actors and start making political speeches, but that’s a separate menace to society).
In case you’re wondering where that 500 million straws a day number came from, Reason.com tried to track it down. They found no reputable industry source to substantiate it, but they did pinpoint its origin: a phone survey conducted by budding environmental and anti-straw activist Milo Cress when he was nine years old. That would explain why so many things that come out of the California Legislature sound like the work of nine-year-olds; although in fairness, it should be noted that Cress is now 16 and still stands by it.
I hope you appreciate that I got all the way through this story about both drinking straws and liberal California lawmakers without using the word “suck.”