Capitol Alert

You’ll have to ask for a paper receipt under a California bill that’s closer to becoming law

Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, displays a long paper receipt as he discusses his bill to require businesses to offer electronic receipts, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Under the legislation customers could receive a paper receipt on request. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, displays a long paper receipt as he discusses his bill to require businesses to offer electronic receipts, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Under the legislation customers could receive a paper receipt on request. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) AP

If you’re happy to see the slow disappearance of plastic straws in California restaurants, you may be excited about the Legislature’s plans for paper receipts.

The state Assembly on Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit businesses from handing customers paper receipts unless customers ask for them. Instead, businesses would provide electronic receipts.

It’s similar to a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year that instructed restaurants to offer plastic straws only if customers request them.

Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting’s Aseembly Bill 161 aims to wean the state off paper receipts. Starting in 2022, customers would only receive paper receipts if they specifically ask for them. Electronic receipts by text or email could be the new default.

If AB 161 passes the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it into law, businesses that dole out paper receipts could be charged upto a total of $300 per year.

The bill excludes small business that gross under $2 million per year, cash-only establishments, health care providers, and those that only print receipts free of Bisphenol-A and Bisphenol-S (BPA and BPS), industrial chemicals harmful to human health.

Green America reports that paper receipts require over 3 million trees and 9 billion gallons of water annually. They produce 302 million pounds of solid waste and 4 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.

“It doesn’t make sense to kill so many trees and unnecessarily expose people to toxins for something we don’t often need,” Ting said in a statement.

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