Gavin Newsom says Panera not exempt from California minimum wage law

Panera Bread is not exempt from the state’s new minimum wage law, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) claims the law benefits Newsom’s donors, who own multiple Panera restaurants. said.

California’s minimum wage is $16 an hour. Starting April 1, under a new bill signed by Newsom last year, most fast food restaurants will have to pay their employees at least $20 an hour, but they will have on-site bakeries and sell bread as a stand-alone menu item. This does not apply to restaurants that do. The Associated Press reported.

according to Reported by Bloomberg Newsthe exemption from the bread and bakery law comes from Newsom himself and would benefit billionaire Greg Flynn, who owns more than 20 Panera restaurants in the state and is donating to Newsom’s campaign. Sho.

Newsom spokesman Alex Stack told The Associated Press that “this story is ridiculous” and that the governor’s legal team believes Panera Bread is not exempt from the law.

To be exempt from minimum wage laws under the Bakery Exemption, a restaurant must produce bread on-site. Newsom’s office said bakery chains like Panera mix dough off-site and send it to restaurants to bake.

Flynn reportedly told The Associated Press that he had met with Newsom’s staff about the bill, but not with the governor himself. He denied seeking special accommodations and said he was surprised the exemption was included in the final bill.

rear the law was passed In 2023, the state’s Republican lawmakers criticized Newsom for potentially including personal connections in the bill.

“The people of California deserve answers for Gavin’s crooked Paneragate deal,” said Congressional Leader James Gallagher. I wrote to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Newsom doesn’t need to lecture anyone about democracy when he’s using his power to benefit special interests.”

California Senate Minority Leader Blaine Jones (Republican) wrote a letter Gallagher and Congressman Joe Patterson called on Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate allegations of “pay-to-play” politics in the drafting of the bill.

The Hill has reached out to Newsom’s office for further comment.

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