The Democrats dominate both houses with super-majorities so if the leadership can “herd the cats” they can pass almost any legislation they desire.
Among the absurd bills this year is one passed Monday to establish a commission to oversee and set wages paid by fast-food franchises. Like most legislation, it’s rippled with favoritism for those with juice—restaurants are exempted if they bake bread and they must be national franchises. A successful entrepreneur who builds an independent chain of 20 restaurants with the same brand is not effected.
Smells, doesn’t it.
Underlying it is the effort to make it easier to organize workers in that industry sector—underlying that is more dues and more political clout for the unions backing it. You could ask just what’s the state’s business in regulating wages of a specific sector of one industry and that would be an apt question. The state already has a minimum wage law so why this one?
Should it become law, there will be at least two predictable outcomes:
1. Costs of your favorite burger from a franchise will go up immediately once it takes effect.
2. Jobs will be harder to come by for entry level, low-skilled workers who often are the majority of the employees—check out the faces of the teams at In-and-Out or Chick fil A. And automating the restaurants will accelerate—think how much fast-food restaurants are incentivizing using their app to order in advance or to order from a kiosk. Pilot projects already are in place testing robots that can cook and prepare sandwiches.
These facts don’t matter to the proponents who only see more members at younger ages and more dues.
At this writing, what Gov. Newsom will do, given his unstated but obvious national ambitions, remains to be seen.
Another bill dealing with the housing crisis also is headed for Newsom’s desk. It will make it easier to redevelopment under-utilized retail space into housing. You’re already seen this happening in San Ramon where an old shopping center is targeted for development into apartments. As the retail market continues to change and shrink, many centers are no longer economically viable and owners will be looking for alternatives.
This bill has a common sense approach that make it unlikely to spark much opposition, unlike the zoning bills that pitted state lawmakers against local elected officials who have responded to their constituents by limiting housing growth.