January 13, 2023

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Sacramento Superior Court ruled in favor of the Save Local Restaurants coalition, confirming that no enforcement of AB 257, or the FAST Act, can take place while the signatures from over one million Californians who signed the petition against AB 257 are verified. The lawsuit was in response to state officials declaring that they would unconstitutionally move forward with the law despite over 100-years’ precedent in the California referendum process. Save Local Restaurants is led by the International Franchise Association (IFA), the National Restaurant Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Save Local Restaurants coalition released the following statement in response to this decision:

“Today’s Court decision protects the rights of over one million California voters who demanded their say on this law before bearing its burden. We appreciate the Court upholding the state’s 100-year-old referendum process as well as the well-established legal precedent that ensures California voters are able to consider the laws passed by their legislature.”

Background:

On December 5, the Save Local Restaurants coalition announced it submitted to county elections officials over one million signatures from Californians in order to prevent AB 257 from taking effect until voters have their say on the November 2024 ballot.

The Secretary of State issued a notice on December 9, 2022, stating the referendum petition filed against AB 257 contains more than the minimum number of required signatures. Pursuant to Article II of the California Constitution, and consistent with the position taken by the Secretary of State and Attorney General in 2020, AB 257 became ineffective and unenforceable in its entirety as of this date. This includes, but is not limited to, the establishment of the Fast Food Council. Given the refusal by California’s Department of Industrial Relations to commit to upholding this law, the Save Local Restaurants coalition filed a lawsuit against the state officials responsible for overseeing enforcement of AB 257. Immediately following the lawsuit, the Sacramento Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order against implementation of AB 257, which prevented the law from being implemented until the Court decided the merits of the case. 

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