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Crazy California: Give Out a Straw, Go to Jail

This week, the city of Santa Barbara, California took a great leap towards SAVING THE WORLD by passing an ordinance that will put restaurant employees in danger of incurring fines of $1,000 and imprisonment of up to six months…for handing out plastic straws to their customers.

Bars, restaurants, and food-service establishments of all types will be covered by the new ordinance, which comes at a time when the left seems especially preoccupied by the environmental threat posed by drinking straws. Starbucks recently created a stir (haha) by announcing they would be phasing out straws at their coffee shops over the next few years. Apparently the Santa Barbara Democrats thought they could outdo that policy and make straws downright criminal, baby!

God, don’t you just love the tree-hugging left?

If the idea of sending a waiter to jail for the sin of handing a straw to a customer sounds ridiculous, you really don’t have the full measure of the insanity yet. Because here’s the best part: Each straw represents a separate violation. So while we don’t expect this to be enforced as such, theoretically a waitress handing out a handful of straws to a party of eight…could end up serving up to four years in jail. Like we said, that’s almost certainly not going to happen, but you have to take these idiots at their word. And this is indeed what’s now on the books in Santa Barbara.

This, in a state where breaking federal immigration law is an infraction of no concern at all.

Even for people who are super-duper concerned about plastic straws and their miniscule contribution to the planet’s waste, there are reasons to oppose this heavy-handed nanny-statedness. As Karin Willison, The Mighty’s disabilities editor points out, many people depend on straws not for preference, but for accessibility.

“This ordinance is ridiculous on so many levels, but it’s downright offensive to people with disabilities,” Willison writes. “Many of us need straws to drink because of limited strength or coordination. Banning straws means we can’t drink in restaurants. We are de facto excluded from any food establishment in Santa Barbara. Unlike straw bans in other cities, there is no automatic exception for people with disabilities. To keep any disposable plastic straws on hand, businesses will have to ‘demonstrate, in writing, a public health and safety requirement or medical necessity to use the product.’ I’m sure they’ll all be racing to cut through that red tape.”

Just another example of how the left unintentionally wreaks havoc with their do-goodery. Every city in California – hell, every city in America – could ban straws and it wouldn’t make a bean’s worth of difference to the environment. But then, when just “changing stuff” is a good all unto itself, we suppose that argument won’t matter much to the Democrats who authorized this ban.

Written by Andrew

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