Calif. Dems block Fong’s bill to ban NDAs in negotiating bills

Despite a report that NDAs were used to negotiate the fast food minimum wage law, California Democrats are not moving forward with a bill that would prevent that from happening again.

California Democrats blocked a bill on Thursday that would have banned non-disclosure agreements in the legislative process. 

Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield) had proposed the bill after a report revealed that NDAs were used to negotiate the state’s new fast food minimum wage law. 


The backstory: Last month KCRA reported that the Service Employees International Union required other groups in negotiations over the minimum wage fast food law to sign NDAs. 

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said the governor did not sign an NDA or request any group to sign one. 
  • A number of fast food brands were part of those negotiations, including McDonald’s, YUM! Brands, the International Franchise Association and the National Restaurant Association. 
  • Fong’s bill, Assembly Bill 2654, would have prohibited lobbyists and certain public officials and employees from entering into or requesting an NDA relating to legislation. 
  • Any legislation that involved NDAs would have become void and unenforceable. 

The big picture: Only three committee members even voted on the bill with nearly every Democrat choosing to not register a vote, which killed AB 2654. 

  • Republicans Tom Lackey and Bill Essayli were the only two Assemblymembers to vote yes. 
  • Committee chair Gail Pellerin cast the lone no vote. 
  • Democrats Steve Bennett, Marc Berman, Sabrina Cervantes and Akilah Weber abstained from voting. 
  • Democrat Evan Low was absent. 
  • Pellerin said during the hearing that she could not support the bill because it had just been referred to the committee on Monday, yet KCRA reported that she has a record of voting for fast-tracked legislation. Just minutes before SB 2654 was heard by the committee, Pellerin voted for Newsom’s proposal that was drawn up this week to allow Arizona abortion providers to work in California. 

What they’re saying: Lackey said on X that there is a blatant double standard with Pellerin refusing to support SB 2654 while California’s budget bills often pass with little notice. 

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