California legislature returns for final year of 2017–18 session

Government Affairs Matthew Sutton

California state Assemblymembers and Senators returned to the State Capitol to begin the second year of the two-year legislative session. It will no doubt be a very busy policy and political year for state legislators as they begin to negotiate on the state budget, consider pending bills from 2017, introduce and consider another round of nearly 2,000 policy proposals, and navigate through an election year.

This week Governor Brown introduced his preliminary budget proposal that officially kicks off the budget season for lawmakers as they consider his proposal and adjust it between now and May, when updated state revenues come in.

Additionally, lawmakers have a number of key proposals before them that must be acted upon before January 31 in order to remain viable policy vehicles for the 2018 year. Outside of those proposals, lawmakers will be introducing hundreds and hundreds of new policy proposals prior to the February 16th deadline for new proposals to be submitted.

Among the holdovers from last year that the CRA will continue to work on up until their deadline of January 31 are several key measures that were a centerpiece to Restaurant Day at the Capitol last April. Adding your voices to ours helped significantly. Please note that 2018 Restaurant Day at the Capitol will be April 24!

Here are two specific issues we’re following:

AB 5 (Gonzalez-Fletcher) remains on the Assembly Appropriations committee due to restaurant community and employer opposition. The proposal is based on a local city ordinance in San Jose, CA and has had little time to be implemented or fully understood, as it requires employers to offer existing employees additional hours before hiring any new external employees. There continues to be a strong push to try to move this proposal forward in the coming weeks and the CRA continues to highlight the unknown and unintended consequences this proposal has brought to the city of San Jose and cautions against rushing to superimpose this policy on the entire state.

SB 300 (Monning) establishes the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Health Warning Act, which prohibits the distribution and sale of sugar-sweetened beverages without a health warning on the container, packaging, or “point of sale.” Requires a place of business with a vending machine or a beverage dispensing machine or that sells a sugar-sweetened beverage in an unsealed container to place a safety warning in certain locations. The CRA continues to oppose this idea, as it puts employers at risk of legal liability for missing signage or incorrect signage placement, and doesn’t contemplate the various types of “point of sale” in the restaurant space.

Many other issues will get additional attention this month from the selective prohibitions on single use foodware, to single-payer healthcare systems, and beyond. Please stay tuned on a weekly basis for continuing updates on the status of these proposals and on the impending wave of nearly 2,000 new proposals to be considered in 2018.