|self-service or "assisted" checkout at Fresh & Easy.|
Assembly Bill 183, the legislation to ban sales of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout stands in retail stores in California, has passed in the California State Senate and is being sent to Governor Jerry Brown, who has until October 9 to either sign the bill into law or veto it. Today is the last day of the 2011 legislative session and the last day for the California State Legislature to send bills to the Governor for action by October 9.
AB 183 passed late Thursday by just the 21-vote majority needed to gain approval and be sent to the Governor.
Twenty one members of the California State Senate voted in favor of passing AB 183 late yesterday, with 16 members voted against passage of the measure, which if signed into law by the Governor will require face-to-face transactions between retail store employees (full-service checkout) and customers whenever alcoholic beverages are purchased at retail in the Golden State.
Three members of the California State Senate, two Democrats and a Republican, didn't vote on the bill yesterday. Those members are Lois Wolk and Carol Liu (Democrats), and Doug LaMalfa, who is a Republican.
As we reported on Wednesday, AB 183 failed in its first vote in the California State Senate on Tuesday, even though it received 17 votes in favor of passage to 16 opposed, because it failed to get the 21-vote majority required to pass. [See - September 7, 2011: Self-Service Checkout Booze Ban Bill Fails in California Senate First Time Around; 'Missing Seven' Dems Hold Key to Passage By Friday.]
However, as we correctly pointed out in the story, Senator Christine Kehoe (Democrat-San Diego), who is the bill's manager in the California State Senate, was able to get a motion to reconsider the bill passed following AB 183's failure to get the needed 21 votes.
Her reason for doing so was because seven Senate Democrats - Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, along with members Noreen Evans; Carol Liu; Curren Price; Michael Rubio; Lois Wolk; and Leland Yee - didn't vote on AB 183 on the Senate Floor on Tuesday.
Five of the "Missing Seven" Democrats voted late yesterday in favor of passage of AB 183, which is what allowed the self-service booze ban bill to gain the needed 21 votes and pass. Senator Rubio voted against the bill. Senators Wolk and Liu didn't vote on AB 183 yesterday, as was the case on Tuesday.
As we've noted in our extensive coverage and analysis of AB 183 and the two bills that preceded it in 2008 (AB 523) and 2010 (AB 1060), if the legislation that's now been passed by both the California State Assembly and California State Senate and is being sent to Governor Jerry Brown becomes law, it will have the most immediate and significant impact on Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market because the chain, which has 128 of its 177 fresh food and grocery markets in California, is currently the only grocer in the Golden State that offers self-service checkout only in its stores.
Other grocery chains in California, such as Winco Foods, Kroger's Ralphs, Save Mart Supermarkets and a couple others, for example, offer customers a choice of both full and self service checkout in some of their stores. But Tesco's Fresh & Easy has a self-service checkout only model and system which it uses in all its stores in California (128 units), metro Las Vegas, Nevada (21 stores) and metro Phoenix, Arizona (28 units). Fresh & Easy calls its system assisted checkout because if asked store workers will assist customers in scanning and bagging their grocery purchases.
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market self-checkout system, like those of all other retailers in California, also requires a face-to-face interaction with a store clerk anytime alcoholic beverages are purchased by customers.
When a customer scans an alcoholic beverage item, the self-service checkout system locks up, alerting store workers. Once this occurs a store clerk goes to the checkout and checks the customers identification card to make sure he or she is 21, which is the legal age required to purchase alcohol in California. The clerk must then punch a code number into the cash register in order for the customer to complete his or her transaction.
Tesco's Fresh & Easy and other opponents of AB 183, such as the California Grocers Association, the California Retailers Association, California Chamber of Commerce and others, argue this safeguard is enough to prevent minors from purchasing alcoholic beverages using the self-service checkouts.
In contrast, proponents of AB 183, which include its author, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (Democrat-San Francisco), the majority of members of the California Assembly and Senate who passed the bill, and groups like Mother's Against Drunk Driving, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), various law enforcement organizations and others, say allowing sales of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkouts increases the chance minors can game the system and purchase adult beverages.
But the argument over whether or not AB 183 should pass in the California State Legislature is now moot. The legislation passed by a big majority in the California State Assembly in May and by 21 votes (to 16 against) in the California State Senate yesterday.
Now it's all up to Governor Jerry Brown to decide if what we've nicknamed the "Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law" (AB 183) because of its singular impact on the grocery chain of the same name becomes law in California. We nicknamed the previous two bills, AB 523 in 2008 and AB 1060 in 2010, both of which had as their goals the banning of alcohol sales at self-service checkouts, the "Tesco Fresh & Easy Law," hence the addition of "Son of" to what is now a four year old nickname for three bills since 2008, all of which have been authored to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages at self-service checkout stands in retail stores in California.
AB 523 failed to make it out of the California State Legislature in 2008. But In 2010, AB 1060 passed in both the California State Assembly and Senate. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill at the final hour though, as we reported here - September 30, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Hopes Governor Schwarzenegger Can Find His Veto Pen Before Midnight Tonight
Jerry Brown, the former two-term Governor of California (1970's-80's), a Democrat who replaced Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento in 2011, has until October 9 to either sign AB 183 into law, veto it, or do nothing. If Brown doesn't sign or veto the bill by the October 9 deadline it automatically becomes law.
Follow the Story Below - Legislation to Ban Sales of Alcoholic Beverages at Self-Service Checkout Stands in California: A History - 2008-2011
September 7, 2011: Self-Service Checkout Booze Ban Bill Fails in California Senate First Time Around; 'Missing Seven' Dems Hold Key to Passage By Friday
September 6, 2011: California State Senate Set to Vote on Self-Service Checkout Booze Ban Bill This Week
August 20, 2011: 'Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law': Self-Service Checkout Booze Ban Bill AB 183 Passes Out of California Senate Appropriations Committee; Headed For Senate Floor
July 27, 2011: 'Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' Moving Through State Senate: Will California Determine Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's Checkout Scheme?
June 4, 2011: 'Son of Tesco Fresh Easy Law': Self-Checkout Booze Ban Bill AB 183 Sails Through California State Assembly; State Senate Next Stop
May 11, 2011: ‘Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law' - California Assembly Appropriations Committee Passes Self-Checkout Ban Bill AB 183 By 12-4 Margin
May 6, 2011: 'Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law': California State Assembly Appropriations Committee Hearing For AB 183 Cancelled
May 4, 2011: 'Son of Tesco Fresh & Easy Law': Strong Chance California Legislation to Prohibit Alcohol Sales at Self-Service Checkouts Could Pass This Year
September 30, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Hopes Governor Schwarzenegger Can Find His Veto Pen Before Midnight Tonight
September 28, 2010: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Hoping Governor Schwarzenegger Prefers His Veto Pen When it Comes to AB 1060
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.