SACRAMENTO, California – Governor Gerry Brown today signed into law a bill that imposes heavy fines on restaurant patrons who do not leave a tip or leaves a tip that equals to less than 15% of the total restaurant bill. The new law will take effect January 1 next year and will impose stiff fines, and punishment to offenders.
The bill, which was signed by Governor Brown this morning, managed to go through the State Assembly and quietly through California’s Senate without any publicity. It passed unopposed 40-0 in the State Senate last Thursday morning.
Penalties for those who break the law range from paying a fine of 3 times the amount of the restaurant tab for someone who leaves less than 15% of the total check, to being forced to wash a day’s worth of the restaurant’s dirty dishes for those who do not leave a tip at all.
In all cases, the law also creates a mandatory requirement of attending a month-long ‘tipping school’ where the basics of tipping will be taught. Passing the course is required under this new law and anyone who does not pass the course on the third try will have their driver licenses marked with a ‘Bad Tipper’ logo permanently.
Bill Rondowski, spokesperson for the Association of Restaurant Service Employees (ARSE) hailed the new law as the ‘best law California has ever passed’, noting that the law should make a lot people aware that restaurant workers are supposed to be tipped as part of the restaurant experience. “We are not asking much, I think this is just fair”, he said.
Linda Royce-Lieberton, assemblywoman for California’s 54th district, and who sponsored the bill said that the law should have been in place since the birth of the state, when California natives started doing commerce with Spanish traders and missionaries.
She also said that part of the problem lies with people who flunked math in high school, “They are the ones we found who are notorious in leaving less than 15% of the bill”. In this matter, “part of the fines collected will be given to California schools to improve math skills of future restaurant customers”, she added.
The California Restaurant Association cannot be reached for comment.