The Golden State seems hellbent on regulating itself into oblivion. Their eco-madness has led them to seriously consider legislation that would fine and or imprison waiters for offering restaurant patrons disposable plastic straws unless one is requested.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn the legislation was presented by a Democrat. And this isn’t some fringe issue either. The plastic straw ban was introduced and is championed by Ian Calderon, Assembly Majority Floor Leader.

SO BRAVE.

Sayeth Calderon in a press release:

“We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans,” stated Majority Leader Calderon. “AB 1884 is not ban on plastic straws. It is a small step towards curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage.”

Plastic is a material that lasts forever, yet 33 percent of all plastics are used just once and thrown away. Only 9% of all plastics are recycled, but due to their small size and lack of a resin code, no straws are ever recycled. After their one-time use, non-biodegradable plastic straws often end up in our oceans and waterways where they break down into smaller, micro-size pieces that are discarded into our environment. They are oftentimes mistaken as food by marine life.

An estimated 500 million straws are used in the United States every day. This number is enough to fill over 127 school buses each day and is calculated to be about 1.6 straws per person in the U.S. In a summary of all trash collected as part of California’s Coastal Cleanup Day between 1989 and 2014, straws and stirrers rank as the 6th most common item collected. AB 1884 is a step toward lowering these alarming figures and is a simple way for consumers to change their plastic use behavior.

500 million straws, you say? Christian Britschgi of Reason dug into this 500 million straw statistic that’s been used by everyone pushing this overly-punative hogwash. The origins of the super serious polar bear killing statistic are nothing short of amazing (emphasis mine):

The actual number of straws being used is unclear. Calderon, along with news outlets writing about this issue—from CNN to the San Francisco Chronicle—unfailingly state that Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day, many of them ending up in waterways and oceans. The 500 million figure is often attributed to the National Park Service; it in turn got it from the recycling company Eco-Cycle.

Eco-Cycle is unable to provide any data to back up this number, telling Reason that it was relying on the research of one Milo Cress. Cress—whose Be Straw Free Campaign is hosted on Eco-Cycle’s website—tells Reason that he arrived at the 500 million straws a day figure from phone surveys he conducted of straw manufacturers in 2011, when he was just 9 years old.

Cress, who is now 16, says that the National Restaurant Association has endorsed his estimates in private correspondence. This may well be true, but the only references to the 500 million figure on the association’s website again points back to the work done by Cress.

More important than how many straws Americans use each day is how many wind up in waterways. We don’t know that figure either. The closest we have is the number of straws collected by the California Costal Commission during its annual Coastal Cleanup Day: a total of 835,425 straws and stirrers since 1988, or about 4.1 percent of debris collected.

A nine-year-old made up a number that California legislators are using to criminalize the courtesy of hard-working wait staff. Good work, Democrats. Good work.