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Four Upcoming Pieces of Legislation That Could Dramatically Change LA Restaurants

Going beyond the plastic bans

A street food vendor in the summer pushes a cart along a sandy path near a park lake.
Street vendor in Echo Park, Los Angeles
Farley Elliott

Food service laws are rapidly changing in 2018. In the last eight months, lawmakers either developed new guidelines for businesses or passed new ones at the local or state level. One even came from the top in March, as the Trump Administration passed legislation that allows tip-pooling with back-of-the-house staff.

And while plastic straw and styrofoam bans appear at the forefront, these same legislative bodies are focused on changes that could have a high impact on local businesses. Restaurants are now left wondering what to with these potential changes to LA nightlife, children’s drinking options, and street vending.

Here’s a rundown of those pending laws.

Late Night Bar Bill

California Senate Bill 905 is also known as the late-night bar bill. The California Assembly approved SB 905 yesterday, but the Senate still needs to provide final approval. If enacted, last call will be extend to 4 a.m. in the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco mayors openly support the bill, but West Hollywood’s Sheriff and Public Safety Commission recommended the council reject the bill in April. Opponents believe two extra hours of drinking could result in more drunk drivers and additional public nuisances in non-participating cities.

Styrofoam and Plastic Straw Bans

The entire nation is watching while California might become the first state to ban plastic straws in restaurants. On August 23, the California Assembly approved a law that restricts full-service restaurants from offering plastic straws unless requested, then sent it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for final approval.

In January, the State Senate failed to pass a Styrofoam ban. But some Southern California cities took matters into their own hands well before the state decided plastic and Styrofoam’s fate. Long Beach and Manhattan Beach initiated single-use Styrofoam and plastic bans in April. And in February, Malibu’s council gave food businesses five months comply with a ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and utensils.

Fast food restaurants are exempt from the plastic bans. Any restaurants that violate the law would receive a $25 per day fine for first and second violations, which are capped to $300 per year.

Tourists Leave Mountains Of Plastic Waste On Greek Beaches Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Sugary Drinks for Children

Senate Bill 1192 seeks to limit restaurants from serving sugary drinks to kids. The bill doesn’t entirely restrict what children drink. The pending law requires restaurants to make water or milk the default. Opponents aren’t happy with the state making choices on their behalf, yet SB 1192 passed last week, and the legislation awaits Governor Brown’s signature.

Street Vendors

State senator Ricardo Lara introduced Senate Bill 946 in February, which is designed to legitimize California street vendors. The Bell Gardens legislator designed the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act to regulate sidewalk vending statewide, while encouraging cities to implement fair local sidewalk vending regulations. If Governor Brown signs SB 946, the law becomes effective on January 1, 2019. In April, the LA City Council approved a plan to overturn the city’s ban on sidewalk sales hoping to solve some long-term issues.

fruit vendor Wikimedia Commons

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