California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office just issued a legislative update report, updating the Golden State chief executive's bill-signing activity, as of yesterday and today. The update, which you can view here, is dated September 28, 2010.
Yesterday and today, the Governor signed 21 bills and vetoed 14 bills. None of the 35 bills he's taken action on since Monday include AB 1060, the legislative bill we've given the name - the "Tesco Fresh & Easy Law." [Read our September 25, 2010 story - Future of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Self-Service-Only Checkout in California Up to Governor Schwarzenegger - for details about the legislation.]
If AB 1060 becomes law, it will make it illegal for grocery and other format stores to sell alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout. However, and the reason we named the bill what we have, is because Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is the only grocery chain in California that offers self-service checkout-only in its stores. All of its competitors offer either full-service checkout-only or, in the case of those grocers offering self-service, offer both the full and self- service options in their stores. Hence, the "Tesco Fresh & Easy Law," since Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is the only chain with stores in California directly affected if the bill becomes law.
We first coined the term in July 2008 when the first version, AB 523, of what's now AB 1060, was introduced by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, who's also the author of AB 1060. [See - July 14, 2008: Breaking News & Analysis: CA Assemblyman Introduces 'Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' to Ban Stores With Self-Checkout-Only From Selling Alcoholic Beverages
If AB 1060 does become law - and unless the Governor vetoes the bill before midnight on Thursday, September 30 it will do so automatically - it will most-likely require, at a minimum, Tesco's Fresh & Easy to offer at least one full-service checkout lane in each of its 107 California stores. That's something the grocer doesn't want to do, although we've suggested it is something Fresh & Easy Neighborhood market should do regardless of the legislation.
[See - Future of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Self-Service-Only Checkout in California Up to Governor Schwarzenegger and March 7, 2009: Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track.]
Tesco's Fresh & Easy offers what it likes to call "assisted checkout." What that means is the checkout is self-service. However, if a customer asks a store clerk for assistance, the clerk gladly helps the shopper scan and even bag her grocery purchases. It's doubtful that definition and process would be deemed legal if AB 1060 becomes law, however. The legislation stipulates "face-to-face" interaction with a store clerk for any customer purchasing alcoholic beverages.
At the end of August, the California Legislature sent 765 bills to the Governor for his signature or veto. As we reported on Saturday, Governor Schwarzenegger said at the end of business on Friday he had dealt with 119 of the 765 bills - signing 76 bills and taking his veto pen to 43 bills.
Adding in the 35 bills he's taken action on yesterday and today, he's now dealt with a total of 165 bills, which means the Governor still has 600 bills to deal with between now and midnight on Thursday. And among those 600 bills still sitting on his desk include AB 1060, the legislation that if passed will require Tesco's Fresh & Easy to change its 100% self-service checkout policy.
The Governor doesn't have to sign or veto the remaining 600 bills. There's no law that requires him to do so. In fact, historically many California Governors have let some bills go without either their signature or veto, allowing the bills to automatically become law after the deadline.
The clock however is ticking on AB 1060. The Governor has until before Midnight Thursday to veto the bill. And of course, if he signs it, the result is the same as having it automatically become law.
Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market hasn't said anything publicly all year about the legislation. However, when the bill was in the California State Assembly and then State Senate (it passed in both), it's lobbying and public relations firm worked behind the scenes to try to kill it, as did the California Grocer's Association (CGA), which Fresh & Easy is a member of.
Interestingly, not one of CGA's other grocer-members, not Safeway Stores, Kroger's Ralphs, Albertsons, Stater Brothers, Save Mart, or any of the numerous other chains and independents that belong to the trade association, will be affected by AB 1060, since none of the retailers offer self-service checkout-only.
The only potential downside it could have on these grocers is it would prevent them from having any future ability to sell alcoholic beverages at self-service checkouts, assuming any of them every wanted to. In fact, the passage or defeat of AB 1060 isn't even a priority, nor is it on their political radar screens, for the major California grocery chains mentioned above and most others.
September 25, 2010: Future of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Self-Service-Only Checkout in California Up to Governor Schwarzenegger
August 24, 2010: California State Senate Sends Bill to Governor That Could End Self-Service-Only Checkout at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market
August 15, 2010 piece : Bill to Ban Alcoholic Beverage Sales at Self-Service Checkouts Would End 'Self-Service Only' at California Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Stores
July 14, 2008: Breaking News & Analysis: CA Assemblyman Introduces 'Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' to Ban Stores With Self-Checkout-Only From Selling Alcoholic Beverages.
March 7, 2009: Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track
May 20, 2008: Take One Dose of 'Internal Research', Add An 'Independent' Survey From An Unnamed Source, and You Get A Consumer Preference For Self-Service Checkout.