SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— Tuesday was supposed to be the last day for plastic grocery bags in California, but an industry-financed referendum has delayed the ban until after next November’s election.

When Secretary of State Alex Padilla was a state senator he pushed what would have been the first statewide plastic bag ban in the nation, now he’s urging shoppers to go ahead and stop using plastic bags now anyway.

The bill was signed into law by the Governor and was supposed to go into effect July 1st, but the referendum has that on hold until fall of 2016. Padilla’s urge has everything to do with keeping the bags out of landfills and waterways to cut down on pollution.

“Near half of Californians now live in a jurisdiction where plastic bags have been phased out, but we do believe that the ultimate benefit for the environment and the ultimate benefit for taxpayers are to have a statewide ban,” Padilla said.

Phil Rozenski with south Carolina plastic bag maker, Novolex, one of the financiers of the referendum, says paper bags take so much water to produce while plastic doesn’t.

Stores in places like San Diego and the Central Valley are still handing out plastic bags. Padilla says by delaying the ban until next November, the industry is making $138 million more in revenue.

The industry claims the ban would cost thousands of jobs in the state and allows grocers to pocket the 10 cents a bag charge.

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