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No straw ban in Santa Barbara yet city officials say

Jail time for plastic straws. It’s a controversial headline sending shock waves around the country and causing mass confusion.

Now, Santa Barbara city officials are attempting to set the record straight.

“No one is going to jail or facing stiff fines for using a plastic straw or for providing a plastic straw to a customer,” said Nina Johnson, Senior Assistant to the City Administrator for the City of Santa Barbara.

The story was the topic of discussion on a Fox News segment and has been picked up by media outlets from to the Daily Mail – and it’s the last straw for Santa Barbara city officials.

“Santa Barbara hasn’t adopted a law. We don’t have a law in place yet for plastic straws, it’s still coming together,” said Johnson.

While the city council did pass an ordinance banning Styrofoam food containers and products on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, during a second reading, they voted to continue the discussion surrounding plastic straws after voting 6-1 for the plastic straw ban a week before.

“We want to look for the best approach for Santa Barbara and that we’re going to be looking at in September,” said Johnson.

However, city officials say they do hope to join other cities like Seattle and Malibu in reducing single-use plastic straws and protecting the environment.

“I think it’s unnecessary you could easily just not use a straw,” said one woman long State Street.

For some, its just about breaking the habit.

“I had my drink and I didn’t know, I was contemplating whether not to get a straw,” said Michael Hanono of San Diego.

With the straw conversation halted until September, Santa Barbara administrators want to work in a cooperative way with businesses.

“Santa Barbara restaurants are already taking the lead and providing compostable straws to customers and offering straws by request so our plan would be to work with the restaurants,” said Johnson.

To provide some context, officials say not a single fine has been issued in correlation to Santa Barbara’s plastic bag ordinance, passed in 2014.

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