SACRAMENTO – California elections officials confirmed the referendum petition submitted by the Save Local Restaurants coalition against AB 257, or the FAST Act, has qualified for the November 2024 General Election ballot. Voters will now have the opportunity to protect Californians and local business owners from the damaging impacts of the FAST Act before it goes into effect.
The Save Local Restaurants coalition released the following statement in response to the completion of the petition signature verification process:
“California voters have made clear that they want a say on whether they must shoulder the burden of higher prices and job losses caused by the FAST Act. This legislation singles out the quick service restaurant industry by establishing an unelected council to control labor policy, which would cause a sharp increase in food costs and push many Californians, particularly in disenfranchised communities, to the breaking point. During the highest inflation in more than four decades, consumers want to know that the restaurant meals they need in their busy lives will continue to be affordable, and that the jobs their communities rely on will still be there. Before they lose the brands that they love, voters will get the chance to have their say.”
International Franchise Association President and CEO Matt Haller said: “The FAST Act was a solution in search of a problem that didn’t exist. Fortunately, now more than one million Californians have spoken out to prevent this misguided policy from driving food prices higher and destroying local businesses and the jobs they create.”
National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Sean Kennedy said: “The FAST Act is bad policy that threatens not only quick service restaurants, but the independents operating in the same neighborhoods. There is no way that the regulations passed by this unelected council would not damage the state’s restaurant industry, harm its workforce, and leave diners paying the bill. We’re pleased that Californians will get the chance to exercise their constitutional right to vote on this law and will continue to support the operators, small business owners, and workers that make the restaurant industry so important to our customers’ lives.”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Employment Policy Glenn Spencer said: “Employers, workers, and consumers can take heart that the FAST Act has been put on hold permanently through November 2024. Had this ruinous policy gone into effect, not only would food prices rise and jobs be lost, but big labor would already be exporting it to other states and industries. In 2024, California’s voters will have the opportunity to put a stake into this law and save local restaurants.”
AB 257, or the FAST Act, was passed on Aug. 29, 2022. Driven by special interests, it would establish an unelected council of bureaucrats to control labor policy in quick service restaurants, which seven in 10 Californians visit and rely upon each week. Estimates show that prices at quick service restaurants could increase between 20-22%, according to the University of California, Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. This means that hard working Californians, already suffering from record-high inflation, will foot the cost of the law at a time when they are struggling with food insecurity, and high gas, electricity, and housing costs. In fact, less than one-third of Californians support AB 257. California’s own Department of Finance opposed the bill, citing “significant, ongoing costs.”
Since the bill’s passage, over one million Californians exercised their constitutional right to referendum to speak out against the law, with far more than enough valid signatures on the petition to qualify the measure for the November 2024 General Election ballot and keep it from going into effect before Californians who will bear its burden get to vote. On Jan. 24, county elections officials and the California Secretary of State confirmed there are enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, postponing the law until voters have a say.
The effort was led by the Save Local Restaurants coalition, a coalition established to protect consumers, local restaurant owners, and workers from the damaging impacts of the FAST Act. The coalition is co-chaired jointly by the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association and is made up of California small business owners, restaurateurs, franchisees, employees, consumers, and community-based organizations.
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Ad paid for by Save Local Restaurants, a coalition of California small business owners, restaurateurs, franchisees, employees, consumers and community-based organizations. Committee major funding from
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Funding details at www.fppc.ca.gov