In an apparent effort to demonstrate their priorities should they be successful in their bids for re-election, a number of legislators have introduced proposals imposing new burdens on restaurants, taverns, and bars. The State Legislature is in recess, not expected to return until January, so these new bills are not meant to be advanced now. But, they’re clearly intended as a statement of their agenda for next year. Here are some of the threats we’re preparing for:
- Eliminate the Tip Wage – This is clearly the most critical issue to your business that is at risk from an activist legislature. One Fair Wage, the latest front group for Saru Jayaraman’s crusade to eliminate the tip wage, is actively campaigning to gain support for their legislative proposal to eliminate the tip wage over several years. While there is some legislative support for this, most mainstream legislators understand this is a bad idea.
- Index the Minimum Wage – This proposal would automatically increase the minimum wage each year based on the increase in the cost of living. This proposal keeps the tipped wage in place, but increases it each year at the same rate that the minimum wage is raised. The Chairs of both the Assembly and Senate Labor Committees support this proposal and have made clear it’s a priority for them in next year’s legislative session.
- Expand Food Waste Mandate – Several years ago when the legislature began considering requiring large food waste generators to donate their edible food waste and recycle their remaining food waste, we expressed concern because we knew that eventually the mandate would be expanded to smaller generators. Before we’ve completed the first year under this law, a new proposal has emerged that would expand the mandate in phases over the next four years.
What can you do? With Election Day not far away your elected officials and their challengers will be looking for your vote. Tell them what matters to you, listen to what they have to say, and make sure to vote so you make your voice heard. It’s the only report card they get and win or lose it matters to send a message that you’re paying attention.