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Wheatland Sun

Republicans Call on Attorney General Bonta to Investigate PaneraGate

Mar 12, 2024 04:53PM ● By California Legislative Republicans News Release

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - On Mar. 4, 14 additional legislative Republicans joined the call for Attorney General Bonta to investigate the appearance of misconduct in the crafting of carveouts to Assembly Bill 1228 to benefit one of Governor Newsom’s major campaign donors. AB 1228 increased the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 dollars an hour, with a specific exemption that reportedly benefits a Panera Bread franchisee who is a longtime acquaintance and donor of more than $220,000 to Newsom’s campaigns.

“If the Governor helped exempt one of his largest political donors from a bill that harms small businesses, the people of California deserve to know,” said Assemblyman Josh Hoover (R-Folsom). “Our leaders cannot be allowed to hide behind the veil of legislative ‘sausage making.’ They must be held to a higher standard.”

“This arbitrary carve out smacks of pay-to-play politics and should be looked at seriously to determine if that’s indeed what happened,” said Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita). “Clearly, it was a bad bill to begin with. This is just another example of why people are so fed up with their government in California.”

Last week, Assembly Republican Leader Gallagher (Yuba City), Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones (San Diego), and Assemblyman Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin) sent a letter to Attorney General Bonta requesting an investigation into this possible pay-to-play deal. Attorney General Bonta, who says he received the first letter sent last week, has yet to respond to Republican lawmakers.

“The governor has a history of abusing his executive power with backdoor deals like he did with Kaiser. Californians deserve to know the truth,” said Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber). “He holds the highest office in this state and should be leading by example, not recusing himself and dismissing it as just ‘sausage-making.’”

“I opposed AB 1228 when it came before me because it was poor policy,” said Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach). “Unfortunately, overregulation of small and large businesses, like this law enacts, will lead to more small and large food serving businesses leaving California for states that support business success and job growth.”

The additional signatories to the letter are: Assemblymembers Megan Dahle, Laurie Davies, Diane Dixon, Bill Essayli, Vince Fong, Josh Hoover, Tom Lackey, Devon Mathis, Jim Patterson, Kate Sanchez, and Senators Brian Dahle, Roger Niello, Kelly Seyarto and Scott Wilk.