February 17, 2012
New assembly bill could wipe out food trucks

The food truck nation is fretting over AB 1678, a bill introduced into the California State Legislature on Tuesday a.k.a. Valentine's Day. But this was no love letter for fans of mobile food. The bill seeks to ban mobile food and beverage vending within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary schools from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. when schools are in session. The bill was introduced by Bill Monning (D-Carmel), and already given support by the California Food Policy Advocates, which focuses on low income familes' access to affordable and nutritious foods.

A statement from Monning's office reads in part: "Mobile food vending poses a threat to student safety as well as student nutrition. Mobile vending near school campuses incentivizes students to leave school grounds, which increases students' exposure to off-campus hazards such as heavily trafficked streets."

So, here's the part that has food truck operators and fans worried. Banning mobile food trucks from operating within 1,500 feet of schools would basically put food trucks out of business by severely limiting where they could operate. This map shows the effect AB 1678 would have in Sacramento if passed.

Of course, this bill has a long way to go before being passed. It must first work its way through committees, be passed by both houses of the Legislature and ultimately signed by the governor. If AB 1678 gets that far through the Capitol's veritabe sausage maker, chances are the bill's language would be amended in some form. Or, maybe not.

March 16 would be the earliest date it will be heard in committee. Stay tuned for more developments on this. In the meantime, here's the full text of Monning's statement about AB 1678.

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