Governor Brown signs the Gatto Bill (AB227) – A good first step in reasonable regulatory reform of California’s Proposition 65.
In September of 2012 the Pacific Coast Coffee Association appointed a Task Force to address the issues of Prop 65, the California law that has prompted a lawsuit involving coffee companies that do business in California. Plaintiffs are suing to demand that coffee be labeled with Prop 65 signs stating, “Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive harm… are present in our coffee products…”
The Task Force has been working closely with the National Coffee Association (NCA) to develop strategies and a unified media policy concerning Prop 65. Along those lines both organizations wrote letters urging Governor Brown to sign AB227 – Proposition 65: Frivolous Lawsuits, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Mike Gatto and passed (after significant amending) by unanimous vote in both houses of the legislature. Assemblymember Gatto’s Legislative Director confided to Task Force members that coffee industry lawyers were key in drafting wording that included coffee shops in the protections offered by the bill. Though the coffee industry looks forward to more comprehensive reform to Prop 65 than AB 227 provides, we strongly believe this is a good first step that will protect thousands of coffee shop owners from frivolous lawsuits and unnecessary legal expenses. To be clear, however, this bill will have no effect on the current litigation.
The PCCA letter approved by the Board was faxed and mailed to the Governor’s office on October 2, 2013. The Governor signed the Bill on Saturday, October 5.
The PCCA will continue to work with the NCA and others in the coffee industry towards finding solutions to industry challenges set in motion by Proposition 65 and other regulatory efforts.