Thursday, December 19, 2019

Eight new California laws that could affect your life in 2020

That Lyft might get more expensive
One of the biggest laws to come out of the Legislature this year, Assembly Bill 5 re-classifies many independent contractors, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, as employees, entitled to benefits and protections, such as sick leave and minimum wage.Lyft has warned that AB 5, which goes into effect Jan. 1, could increase both the cost and the wait time for rides, while fellow ride-share company Uber has defiantly resisted re-classifying its employees.
The minimum wage goes up
On Jan. 1, California inches a little bit closer toward its end goal of a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Statewide, the minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour for employers with 26 or fewer employees, and $13 an hour for employers with more than 26. This annual $1-an-hour increase continues until 2023, when all employers will be required to pay employees at least $15 an hour.
No more suspending ‘unruly’ children
Schools will have to find an alternative to suspension when it comes to dealing with unruly students. Beginning July 1, 2020, it will be illegal for schools to suspend students in grades kindergarten through eight for unruly or disruptive behavior. Senate Bill 419 applies to both public and charter schools. Grades nine through 12 are not covered in the law.
Renters get new protections
A new law restricts landlords’ ability to do things like raise the rent or evict tenants. Going into effect Jan. 1, 2020, Assembly Bill 1482 restricts annual rent increases to no more than 5 percent, plus inflation. If you’ve lived in your rental unit for at least a year, you also just got additional protection against being evicted..
Vaccine exemptions get more tightly regulated
Senate Bill 276 empowers the California Department of Public Health to create a medical exemption form that doctors will be required to use and which would be cataloged in a state database. Doctors who, starting in 2020, issue five or more exemptions will be subjected to state review..
Your right to privacy just got stronger
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, you will have a right to know what personal information businesses are holding onto, and to have that information deleted if you wish. The California Consumer Privacy Act, passed in 2018, applies to businesses that operate in the Golden State that gross $25 million or more per year, that buy or sell personal information for more than 50,000 consumers for commercial purposes, or derive half or more of their revenue from selling personal information, according to Common Sense Media, which co-sponsored the law..The new law also gives you the ability to sue companies if there is a breach of your non-encrypted information, and empowers the attorney general to levy fines against those companies as well.
More housing could be built
In a bid to boost home construction in the Golden State, Newsom signed a slate of housing-related bills into law in 2019. One of those bills to become law is aimed at restricting cities’ ability to “downzone,” or reduce the number of units that can be built in a single space. Under the new law, cities are also limited in their ability to impose building standards that would make a project more expensive. That law remains in effect until 2025.
Health care for young undocumented immigrants
Undocumented immigrants under age 26 will be eligible for California’s low-income health insurance, beginning Jan. 1. This marks an expansion of previous eligibility laws, which allowed undocumented immigrant children to apply. That expansion comes due to a $98 million funding package to Medi-Cal included in the state’s 2019-20 budget. To qualify, an applicant must make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $17,200 for an individual and $35,500 for a family of four. Read more here

Thursday, November 7, 2019

California Laws in 2019

- Want A Straw In Your Drink At A California Diner? You'll Have To Ask For One
Beginning in 2019 California will be the first state to prohibit sit-down restaurants from serving drinks with plastic straws, unless upon request. It's not an outright ban, nor does it stop fast-food restaurants, delis or coffee-shops from serving drinks with plastic straws. Dine-in restaurants will still be able to use plastic straws, but diners will have to ask for them specifically.
- California Restaurants Must Make Milk Or Water The Default Kids Meal Drink
Restaurants in California that offer kids meal combos will be required to promote water or unflavored milk as the default drink option starting Jan. 1, under a new law that aims to discourage the consumption of soda, juice and other sugary beverages among young people.
- If Counties Get On Board, Selling Food From Your Own Kitchen Could Become Legal In California
California Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, who authored the bill, says that homemade food sales are a vital part of self-reliant communities. “Legitimizing these home businesses will offer a means of economic empowerment and pathways for many to achieve the ‘American dream,’”
- New California Law Cracks Down On Animal Sales In Pet Stores
Pet stores will no longer be allowed to buy from breeders, or from “puppy mills,” which raise animals in poor conditions for profit. Instead, they’ll have to source their animals from shelters and rescues.
- More Californians convicted of DUI offenses will be required to pass a breathalyzer test to start their vehicles under a new law going into effect
It requires drivers convicted of first-time DUI offenses that lead to an injury to pass a breathalyzer connected to their vehicle, called an ignition interlock device or IID, each time they start their car for six months. The devices also require random tests while in motion, to prevent the driver from drinking after they’ve passed the first test.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

3 Restaurant Industry Trends to Watch in 2019

1. The Rise of Online Ordering
According to the National Restaurant Association, 60 percent of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week.
Online ordering sales could rise an annual average of more than 20 percent to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion according to investment bank UBS. A recent study conducted by CHD Expert shows that restaurants will see this revenue from a variety of venues:
  • Pick-up is projected to generate $124 billion in sales this year.
  • Direct delivery from a restaurant: $32 billion.
  • Delivery from a third-party delivery company: $13 billion..
2. Experimenting with Dining Experiences
The quality of food and service has been at the center of the restaurant industry, but with so many establishments making great food and providing exceptional service—there is a question restaurateurs must ask themselves: What are we doing to set ourselves apart?
In 2019, the industry will continue to adapt to restaurant trends and move toward out-of-the-box experiences for consumers. Long gone are the days of typical two-for-one meals and happy hours—restaurants are now pushed to ask themselves what they can do to offer diners an experience that they’ll never forget.
In response to the typical restaurant week that diners have grown tired of year after year, reservation company Resy has partnered with Capital One to create Off Menu Week. This new program will take place in six major U.S. cities—Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Austin—and will offer customers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience at their favorite restaurants..
3. Keeping an Eye on Food Cost
With food cost accounting for up to a third of expenses for restaurants, they are a natural place for restaurateurs to look for relief. According to, a successful restaurant typically generates a 28 to 35 percent food cost. Regularly monitoring restaurant food cost will help determine when restaurant owners need to make adjustments to menu prices or switch up the types of ingredients or quantity of items you’re purchasing. It can also help gauge if there’s a discrepancy is between food cost percentage and what your actual food cost is..Read more here

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Pressure builds to regulate 3rd party deliverers

New York is looking to cap the commissions charged full-service restaurants by third-party deliverers at 10% as part of a mounting pushback against the services’ controversial business practices. Simultaneously, the New York City councilman who held hearings on the services in late June, has asked the attorney general of New York to investigate Grubhub for alleged violations of state anti-trust regulations...
The SLA spokesman said the agency is weighing whether that cap should also apply to third-party deliverers, since they, too, collect a portion of sales from the restaurants they service. The agency could alternatively require that the services negotiate their inclusion on the liquor licenses of every full-service establishment whose meals they deliver, a logistical and virtually impossible feat.
Any rule change by the SLA would not affect Grubhub, the service's spokesperson said. "It is important to understand that the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) does not have jurisdiction over the sale of food," he said. "With respect to the sale of alcohol, which represents an incidental portion of orders on our platform, Grubhub operates in full compliance with the 2017 Declaratory Ruling" an agreement that specifies the service will not charge more than 10% of the profits from alcoholic beverages as a commission. "To our knowledge, we are the only third-party national delivery provider in possession of such a ruling from the SLA."
Delivery by third parties such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats and Postmates has been the fastest-growing segment of the restaurant industry, but operators have complained that the services’ aggressive fees eat up all the profits. Chains such as Olive Garden and Del Frisco’s have refused to offer small-order delivery because of concerns about the profitability. Read more here

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

California Plastic Laws: What You Need To Know

Even before plastic straw bans grew trendy, California was at the forefront of using less plastic and promoting more sustainable living... 
 California’s plastic straw ban law (Assembly Bill 1884) took effect this month and prohibits full-service restaurants from automatically providing single-use plastic straws unless said straws are specifically requested by the customer.
By the state’s definition, a “full-service restaurant” is an establishment with the primary business purpose of serving food, where food may be consumed on the premises. To define even further, at these restaurants, customers have to be escorted or assigned to a seating area, their orders have to be taken in that area, orders have to be brought to them and the check has to be delivered to the customer in the assigned eating area. Fast-food restaurants, coffee shops, and anywhere you’d receive a to-go cup aren’t included in the ban. The penalty for breaking the ban can cost restaurateurs up to $25 per infraction..
According to environmental group EcoCycle, Americans use an estimated 500 million disposable straws every day and straws were the seventh most common piece of trash picked up on beaches worldwide by volunteer cleanup crews associated with the marine conservation group Ocean Conservancy..
  • In its effectiveness study, San Jose found twice as many people opted not to take a bag post-ban.
  • San Jose also measured the number of plastic bags found in litter and creek cleanups, and saw decreases.
  • California Waste Solutions, which does the majority of recycling for San Jose, reported fewer plastic bags getting caught in recycling machines and a 35-50 percent reduction in downtime because of that.
  • Los Angeles County found its large stores gave away 2 million plastic bags and 196,000 paper bags annually before its ban. A year later, those stores handed out only 125,000 paper bags.
Local bans across the state already had cut down considerably on the plastic bag litter on beaches, but that figure dropped even further after passage of the statewide ban—and the straw ban is forecasted to do the same.
Clearly, California’s plastic bans are working and will likely be adopted elsewhere. In the meantime, how can you help? Start with the packaging you choose. By finding the right solution for every packaging need, nothing is wasted and products stay damage-free, reducing the returns that add up in fuel and energy costs to the environment.Read more here

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pets, pot and privacy: 10 new California laws that could affect you

When medical providers in California are disciplined for ethical violations like gross negligence, substance abuse, inappropriate prescribing or sexual misconduct, they can be placed on probation. It allows them to continue practicing for a period under restricted conditions. Starting in July 2019, your physicians, surgeons, podiatrists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and osteopathic and naturopathic doctors will have to inform you if they are on probation before they can treat you.
If you have an old marijuana conviction, it may soon be eased. The Department of Justice will have until July 1, 2019, to review records and identify past convictions that may be eligible for recall or dismissal of a sentence.
The dog days are over. In a couple years, owners will have access to a comprehensive list of state park units or portions of units that allow dogs. The Department of Parks and Recreation must update its website and maintain real-time information on pet rules by July 1, 2020.
As the Trump administration ramps up its immigration enforcement efforts, California is attempting to bring street vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, out of the shadows. The state will now prohibit local governments from banning sidewalk sales of food and other merchandise, and require them to set up a licensing system if they want to regulate the practice. Violations of local rules can only be punished with citations or fines, not criminal charges, so as not to alert immigration authorities.
Whether or not to issue concealed weapons permits remains at the discretion of local sheriffs and police chiefs. But as of January, you will need to prove your proficiency in shooting and safe handling of your firearm if you want a license to carry it in public. The training requirement has also been raised to a minimum of eight hours.
The #MeToo movement is changing the way we talk about sexual harassment. California, which previously only mandated regular training for supervisors at large companies, will now require it for all workers at any business with at least five employees. You can expect to receive at least an hour of instruction on workplace sexual harassment within six months of being hired at a new job and every two years after that.
The California Consumer Privacy Act was a compromise reached between consumer privacy advocates and tech companies. In exchange for pulling an initiative from the ballot in June, this bill was signed into law and goes into effect starting in 2020. It allows consumers to know more about personal information companies collect on them and empowers them to request the data be deleted. If there is an unauthorized breach of your non-encrypted personal information, you can sue companies for up to $750. Still, the new law has its limits. Nothing in the law prohibits businesses from offering different prices for different levels of service, suggesting greater privacy could come at a higher cost. EAT UP:
Public schools in California are required to provide low-income students with one free or reduced-price meal per day that meets federal child nutrition requirements. The program is meant to help kids who might otherwise go hungry so that they can better focus in class. Beginning next academic year, the state is extending that rule to charter schools, which serve more than 340,000 low-income students of their own.
If you choose to vote by mail, you’ll no longer have to pay postage. The law works to ensure voting is free for all Californians by requiring elections officials include a return envelope with prepaid postage when delivering vote by mail ballots. Local agencies could ask the state to reimburse them for the new costs, which are estimated at $5.5 million.
Adults born to be wild will soon be able to go helmet-less while riding electric scooters on city streets. The new law, which goes into effect at the start of 2019, also raises the speed limit for scooters on streets from 25 mph to 35 mph.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How much money do you need to be wealthy in America?

A few million should do it. But for some, it’s not just about the cash—it’s what you do with it.
Many Americans cite leading a stress-free life and having “peace of mind” as their personal definition of wealth. That doesn’t sound too money-centric on the face of it—until you consider that money, or specifically the lack of it, is a major source of stress..
To be financially comfortable in America today requires an average of $1.4 million, up from $1.2 million a year ago, according to the survey. The net worth needed to be “wealthy”? That’s an average $2.4 million, the same as last year in the online survey of 1,000 Americans between age 21 and 75.
There were some heartening signs amid the numbers. While 18 percent defined wealth as being able to afford anything they desired, 17 percent said it was “loving relationships with family and friends.” That jibes with how Joe Duran, chief executive officer of money manager United Capital, said he likes to think of “wealth.” After building and selling his first company, “I realized that money is nothing more than fuel,” he said. “It is a resource that lets you have choices, but if you don’t think about what you are working for, you will die rich but not live rich.”.. Read more here

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