Sacramento Court Pauses New Fast Food Council Law

The Sacramento Superior Court last week ruled that a new law establishing a fast food sector council can’t be enforced until officials determine whether the industry challenge to the law can proceed.

The Save Local Restaurants coalition submitted signatures on December 5, 2022 to prevent the fast food council law, AB 257 (Holden; D-Pasadena; Chapter 246, Statutes of 2022), from taking effect until after California voters decide its fate when the referendum appears on the November 2024 ballot.

The California Department of Industrial Relations tried to put AB 257 into effect temporarily on January 1 of this year despite the pending signature verification process for the referendum, but the coalition sued to stop enforcement of the law.

The Sacramento Superior Court’s January 13 ruling found there is “very little harm” to the public in delaying enforcement of AB 257 until completion of the signature verification process, which the parties estimate will occur by January 27 or March 13 at the latest.

Once the referendum on AB 257 qualifies for the ballot, it cannot be enforced until voters have their say.

AB 257, opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, establishes the unelected Fast Food Council with unprecedented authority to write its own labor and employment laws for fast food restaurant employees.

The Secretary of State confirmed on December 9, 2022, that the coalition’s referendum petition contained more than the minimum number of required signatures. The counties have 30 working days from that date to perform a full check of signatures and report to the Secretary of State.

The Save Local Restaurants coalition is made up of small business owners, restaurateurs, franchisees, employees, consumers, and community-based organizations. The coalition effort is co-chaired by the National Restaurant Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Franchise Association.

The coalition argues that AB 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Act) will increase the cost of food for the 70% of Californians who visit a counter-service restaurant each week and the working families who already are struggling with high gas, electricity and housing costs.

Moreover, the new government bureaucracy created by the FAST Act will cost California taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The new regulations will eliminate thousands of jobs in California and harm thousands of small, family-, minority- and woman-owned businesses across the state.

Staff Contact: Ashley Hoffman

Ashley Hoffman
Ashley Hoffman joined the California Chamber of Commerce in August 2020 as a policy advocate specializing in labor and employment and workers’ compensation issues. She was named a senior policy advocate starting January 1, 2024 in recognition of her efforts on behalf of members. Hoffman holds a B.A. with high honors in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law where she was a Michael T. Masin scholar, an editor at the UCLA Law Review, and staff member for the Women’s Law Journal. See full bio.