After sitting at SB 972 for two weeks, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill that promises to greatly help all California street food sales become fully legal.
The news broke this afternoon via a press release from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. SB 972 was signed as part of a package, along with additional bills intended to make California more equitable and inclusive, including one intended to remove nonresident tuition fees at community colleges (AB 1232) and another that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive cards Identity from the DMV (AB 1766).
“California expands opportunity for everyone, regardless of immigration status,” Governor Newsom said in the announcement. We are a country of asylum – a country with a majority minority, 27% of us are immigrants. That’s why I’m proud to announce today’s signing of bills to further support our immigrant community, making our state stronger every day.”
SB 972 was written and paid for by Long Beach Senator Lena Gonzalez. Her area has recently seen a boom in street food sales, from new sellers Selling fried fish sandwiches On the beach boardwalk to boom New Street taquerías that have appeared at intersections around Long Beach in the past three months.
Street vendors in Los Angeles County have been fighting to become fully legal — specifically by obtaining a permit from their city’s local health department — for more than a decade now. The movement began in 2009 to become more inclusive and see street vendors as micro-entrepreneurs (SB 946).
Street selling was the first certified in 2018; Los Angeles issued its first permit in 2020. However, that was aimed more at selling merchandise. Street food was another deal entirely because local health departments had yet to configure their own food code, which was aimed primarily at brick-and-mortar establishments. Since 2020, street vendors have been organizing and making their voices heard, fighting for their right to legally earn a living by selling food.
Recently, many Los Angeles street vendors traveled to Sacramento to speak On the Senate floor, to persuade them to support SB 972 through a unanimous bipartisan vote. Newsom had until October 1st to sign it, which he just did.
Cesar Benitez, a Los Angeles street food seller, told LA TACO he’s speechless, emotional, audible and partying. “This is a step forward. At La Lucha we have been working hard to bring about change, and here we are today,” he says.
Merlin Alvarado, a Hollywood bacon-wrapped hot dog seller who also advocated for SB 972, is similarly elated, telling LA TACO, “Lo hicimos. Estoy Phillies.”
“The SB 972 pass is a huge victory for California street food vendors,” says Rudi Espinosa, CEO of Inclusive Action for the City and one of the biggest advocates of the California street vending movement. “It’s another major step realizing what many of us already know… that street food vendors are workers, mothers, fathers and leaders. When we take the lead, we can put in place amazing policy that supports inclusive economies and public health.”
Vendors are preparing to host a massive celebration at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights to celebrate this important moment in California food history, scheduled for September 30.
LA TACO will update this story as it develops
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