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Los Angeles (AFP) — California governor Jerry Brown said he will approve a ban on single-use plastic bags, in what would make the western U.S. state the first to outlaw them.

Lawmakers passed the bill late last Friday, and it now only requires Brown’s signature to pass into law. The governor must do so before the end of September.

“I probably will sign it, yes,” Democratic veteran Brown said late Thursday during a televised debate with his Republican election rival Neel Kashkari, who is trailing badly in opinion polls.

“In fact, I’ll tell you why I’m going to sign it: there are about 50 cities with their own plastic bag ban, and that’s causing a lot of confusion,” he said, cited by the Los Angeles Times and other media.

He added: “This is a compromise .. It’s taking into account the needs of the environment, and the needs of the economy and the needs of the grocers.”

Under the Californian legislation, single-use plastic bags would disappear from grocery stores and pharmacies from July 1, 2015, and then from convenience and liquor stores from July 1, 2016.

The bill would allow stores to charge 10 cents for paper or reusable bags. Similar bans, backed by environmentalists, are already in place in cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

A ban is opposed by Republicans who say it would be too much government meddling for small and medium sized businesses, and by bag manufacturers who fear job losses.

Kashkari — who latest polls indicate trails by 50 percent to 34 percent for the November 4 gubernatorial post — said he opposes the legislation.

“No chance would I sign that bill,” he said in Thursday’s debate.

AFP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Viktor Orban

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Nobody should still pretend to be shocked that the Conservative Political Action Conference, an entity no longer "conservative" in any meaningful sense, would feature an appearance by an authoritarian leader like Viktor Orban. The Hungarian autocrat is the idol of the international far Right. He has repeatedly enjoyed the bootlicking attentions of Tucker Carlson on Fox News and indeed, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp led his gang to celebrate Orban in Budapest earlier this year.

What makes Orban so alluring to the American far rightists is his example as an illiberal politician who, unlike their idol former President Donald Trump, has managed to corrupt Hungarian democracy so thoroughly as to guarantee his own continuing rule.

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