By Constantine Mittendorf
There are eighteen statewide ballot measures that Californians will be voting on this election cycle and countless local measures. While few items on the ballot directly affect the California restaurant industry as a whole, here are a few statewide and local measures to be aware of:
Soda and Sugar Sweetened Beverage Taxes
Several cities have soda taxes on the ballot. For example, San Francisco Prop V and Oakland Measure HH will both tax certain sugary beverages at a rate of one cent per once.
Update – San Francisco Prop V and Oakland Measure HH both passed.
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
California Prop 64 creates a framework for the legalization of recreational marijuana. This highly controversial and lengthy ballot measure (over 25,000 words of new law proposed) may open the door for “cannabis cafes” over the next few years.
Update – California Prop 64 passed.
Plastic Bag Ban Tax Allocation
In 2014 Governor Brown signed California Senate Bill 270, which was designed to phase out the use of disposable plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores. Senate Bill 270 was put on hold by California Prop 65 and California Prop 67, which are competing ballot measures relating to plastic take out bags. While these laws do not preempt regulation of bags in restaurants, they involve a similar retail space and may signal a shift towards requiring more environmentally friendly packaging.
Update – California Prop 65 was rejected. California Prop 67 to ban single use plastic bags passed.
$15 Per Hour Minimum Wage
Also noteworthy is that the California $15 per hour Minimum Wage Initiative was certified for the November 8th ballot, but was withdrawn in June 2016 when the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 3, which will raise the California minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2022.