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The Good and the Bad: New Laws that
Affect the California Restaurant Industry

Of the many bills signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this year that will become law on January 1, a few will affect the restaurant industry more than others. Following is a brief summary of these laws, according to the California Restaurant Association:

· AB 1835 by Assembly members Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View), Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) increases California’s minimum wage and exempt salary standards for all California employers. The minimum wage will be increased from $6.75 to $7.50 per hour on January 1, 2007, and to $8 per hour on January 1, 2008 for an overall increase of $1.25. It also provides for the upward adjustment of the permissible meals and lodging credits and requires employers to post amended copies of the applicable wage order.

· SB 144 by Senator George Runner (R-Antelope Valley) was co-sponsored by the California Restaurant Association and adopts a revised and improved food code (California Food Retail Code) that is more user-friendly, provides better uniformity and consistency and uses the best available science to ensure Californians are safe.

· SB 1485 by Senator Ray Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) removes the current prohibition on importing, possessing with the intent to sell or selling within the state, alligators and crocodiles until January 1, 2010.

· SB 1548 Senator Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) authorizes beer manufacturers and wholesalers to offer beer samples (not to exceed 8 ounces per person, per day) to individuals of legal drinking age at on-sale retail licensed premises under specified conditions.

The California Restaurant Association, now celebrating 100 years of service, claims to be the voice of the California restaurant and hospitality industry. The restaurant industry is the largest private employer in California, representing nearly 1.4 million jobs. Restaurants produce more than $51 billion in sales annually and generate more than $4 billion in sales tax for the state.

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