"California's fast food law exempts Panera because of Gov. Newsom's relationship with billionaire franchisee"

As California prepares to implement a new law that requires major fast food chains to pay workers a minimum of $20 an hour starting in April, a new report explains why the governor's relationship with a billionaire helped exempt Panera Bread and chain restaurants like it and now some lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the deal. In 2022, state lawmakers passed the F.A.S.T Recovery Act, which set new wages and established a council to bargain working conditions and pay on behalf of the half a million fast food workers in the state. Baked into the legislation was a carve-out for chains that bake and sell their own bread. Bloomberg reported that the exemption is the result of the governor's relationship with billionaire and Panera franchisee Greg Flynn, who was initially a major opponent of the bill. Multiple sources told KCRA 3 that the governor pushed for the exemption in the late stages of the bill's negotiation in 2022 with Flynn's influence.

“This legislation was the result of countless hours of negotiations with dozens of stakeholders over two years," said Newsom's office spokesman Alex Stack in a statement on Wednesday. "Staff in the Governor’s Office met with dozens of business owners as well as union representatives, as is expected when policies of this consequence are moving through the Legislature.” According to state campaign finance data, Flynn donated $100,000 to Newsom's campaign against the 2021 recall and $64,800 to his reelection campaign in 2022. He told Bloomberg he did not play a role in crafting the exemption. He did not respond to KCRA 3's request for comment Wednesday night. The California Assembly's Republican Minority Leader James Gallagher called for an investigation Wednesday night. "Can any franchisee get an exemption from the $20 minimum wage law or do they need to donate more than $150k to Newsom first? This crooked deal needs to be investigated," Gallagher said.

KCRA 3 reached out to the offices of Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas and Senate Pro Tem Mike McGuire for comment on Wednesday night. Neither responded. "Our margins, our profits have gone down from 9% to 3.5%," Flynn told KCRA 3 in an interview in 2022. "We’re barely hanging on. And when I think about the creation of a state council that is designed specifically to add more costs, I don’t know if we can make it.” The law faced the threat of a referendum later that year, and after a year's worth of negotiations, the fast-food industry, labor groups and lawmakers agreed to move forward with the legislation, and the exemption remained. When Newsom finally signed the agreement into law in 2023 at a news conference in Los Angeles, KCRA 3 asked why the exemption was there in the first place and why Panera and other bakery counter service restaurant workers won't have the same protections.

"That's a part of the sausage making," Newsom replied. "We went back and forth, and that was part of the negotiation, that's the nature of negotiation. It's not just Jack in the Box, it's not just McDonald's, there are a lot of different players, and this affects a lot of different franchises and different models as it relates to that and different conditions and environments. That was all part of the give and take and that was the collective wisdom of the Legislature and ultimately led to my signature."
https://www.kcra.com/article/report-cal ... e/60014966
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: "California's fast food law exempts Panera because of Gov. Newsom's relationship with billionaire franchisee"

From an LA Times editorial today.
When questioned about the bread exemption last year, Newsom dismissed it as “part of the sausage-making” of politics. On Thursday, amid rising outrage, Newsom’s office put out a statement calling the Bloomberg story “absurd” and suggesting Panera is not exempt from the law because it mixes the dough at an off-site location and only bakes and sells the bread at the restaurant. OK, but we’re going to need some proof. Because the carve-out for bakeries has been reported numerous times using Panera as the example of a restaurant that would benefit from the exemption. The governor’s office has yet to explain publicly why the bakery exemption was even warranted. And Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), who carried the bill, said he had nothing to do devising the bread break.

Newsom and legislative leaders need to explain themselves. This sounds exactly like the kind of legislative shenanigans that undermine public confidence. Lawmakers should expect to explain why an exemption from any new law is necessary. But it’s difficult to imagine how this one could be justified. How does it make sense that, if a restaurant bakes bread for sandwiches, its workers deserve $20 an hour, but if it sells it as a loaf, its workers don’t? If you were thinking, well, why doesn’t McDonald’s just start selling the McBaguette in California to avoid the law? The exemption applies only to restaurants that operate on-site bakeries as of Sept. 15, 2023.
The statement from Newsom’s team denying the story comes after California Senate Republican Leader Brian Jones called for an investigation into the allegations Thursday. “Put simply, campaign contributions should not buy you carve-outs in legislation,” Jones said. “That’s crony capitalism. It’s corrupt and unacceptable.”
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2 ... m-wage-law

Newsom knows Greg Flynn because they both own restaurants.
Flynn Holdings is a restaurant group and real estate investment company that claims to be the largest restaurant franchisee in the nation. The company’s portfolio of restaurants includes more than 444 Applebee’s restaurants, more than 280 Taco Bell locations, 133 Panera Bread cafes, 367 Arby’s restaurants, 937 Pizza Huts and and 194 Wendy’s restaurants, according to its website.
https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... t-from-law

Republicans in the CA Legislature are asking for the FBI to investigate, they don't trust Democrats with their supermajority in the legislature or Atty Gen Rob Bonta who was appointed by Newsom to investigate.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: "California's fast food law exempts Panera because of Gov. Newsom's relationship with billionaire franchisee"

And Newscum thinks he can make a successful run for President? To quote Bugs Bunny, "what a maroon!"

Newscum continues to show that he's about as corrupt as they get. But that's what Californians voted for, including not to recall him, so the people of California are getting what they voted for and thus deserve. Will it really come to a point like Ayn Rand described, where for Californians to actually wake up, the state will really have to end up in an Atlas Shrugged sort of state? I hope not, but it's looking like it more and more.

Both Newscum and this Greg Flynn need to go to jail for this. Total, obvious payola.
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