Abby Goldberg was already asleep late Saturday when Illinois Governor Pat Quinn rang her residence to tell her he would veto SB 3442, a bill that would have barred towns from banning plastic bags. Goldberg, an eighth grader at Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake, collected almost 175,000 signatures against the bill through an online petition.
"I was shocked, I just couldn't believe it," she told Patch. "I really thought he would sign the bill because of the plastics industry, so I just couldn't believe it."
In a statement Governor Quinn credited Golberg with raising awareness about the implications of the proposed law. He also thanked her for her work to protect the environment in Illinois.
The 13-year-old began her campaign last Spring as part of an assignment in her environmental awareness class. She initially wanted to convince the Grayslake Village Board to enact a ban on plastic bags. When she learned that a bill was moving through Illinois that would prevent towns of enacting these bans, she took action.
"It was a lot of work, but I'm glad I did it," she said. "It's nice that all the work I've done has paid off."
"Abby should be extremely proud that she was able to rally tens of thousands of people, and successfully persuade Governor Quinn to veto this bill,” said Mike Jones, Deputy Campaign Director with Change.org in a statement.
“It’s just another example of how students across the country are using Change.org to make a difference in their community, city and state. Abby’s campaign was extremely popular, and touched a nerve with people all throughout Illinois and the United States,” Jones said.
Goldberg told Patch her future plans include trying to get big-box retailers to have specific check-out lanes for customers using reusable bags. Or, she said, "I may write a children's book."