BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1965
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  April 9, 2014

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
                           K.H. "Katcho" Achadjian, Chair
                    AB 1965 (Yamada) - As Amended:  March 28, 2014
           
          SUBJECT  :  Outdoor dining facilities: pet dogs.

           SUMMARY  :  Allows food facilities to permit a person to bring a  
          pet dog to outdoor dining areas under certain conditions, and  
          allows local governing bodies to prohibit pet dogs in food  
          facilities' outdoor dining areas.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Provides that the California Retail Food Code (Food Code) does  
            not prohibit a local governing body from prohibiting the  
            presence of pet dogs in outdoor dining areas of food  
            facilities.

          2)Provides that pet dogs may be allowed in a food facility if  
            the contamination of food, clean equipment, utensils, linens  
            and unwrapped single-use articles cannot result, the pet dog  
            is under the control of a person in an outdoor dining area,  
            and all of the following conditions are satisfied:

             a)   The owner of the food facility elects to allow pet dogs  
               in the facility's outdoor dining area;

             b)   A separate outdoor entrance is present where pet dogs  
               enter without going through the food establishment to reach  
               the outdoor dining area and pet dogs are not allowed on  
               chairs or tables;

             c)   The outdoor dining area is not used for food or drink  
               preparation or the storage of utensils;

             d)   Food and water provided to pet dogs shall only be in  
               single-use disposable containers;

             e)   Food employees are prohibited from having direct contact  
               with pet dogs while on duty;

             f)   If a pet dog deposits excrement or other bodily fluids,  
               an employee shall immediately clean and sanitize the  
               affected areas; and,









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             g)   Other control measures approved by the enforcement  
               agency.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Specifies that the Food Code does not prohibit a local  
            governing body from adopting an evaluation or grading system  
            for food facilities, from prohibiting any type of food  
            facility, from adopting an employee health certification  
            program, from regulating the provision of consumer toilet and  
            handwashing facilities, or from adopting requirements for the  
            public safety regulating the type of vending and the time,  
            place, and manner of vending from vehicles upon a street  
            pursuant to its authority under current law, as specified.

          2)Prohibits, pursuant to the Food Code, live animals in food  
            facilities, except provides that live animals may be allowed,  
            if the contamination of food, clean equipment, utensils,  
            linens and unwrapped single-use articles cannot result, in the  
            following situations:

             a)   Edible or decorative fish in aquariums, and shellfish or  
               crustacean on ice, under refrigeration, or in display tank  
               systems;

             b)   Animals intended for consumption, provided that specific  
               storage, handling, and slaughter requirements are met;

             c)   Dogs under the control of a law enforcement officer or  
               private patrol employees, as specified;

             d)   Service animals that are controlled by a disabled  
               employee or person in areas that are not used for food  
               preparation, if a health or safety hazard will not result;

             e)   Pets in the common dining areas of restricted food  
               service facilities (bed and breakfast inns or agricultural  
               homestays) at times other than during meals, provided  
               specified conditions are met;

             f)   In non-food areas, as specified, of a facility that  
               contains caged animals, such as in a variety store that  
               sells pets or a tourist park that displays animals; and,

             g)   If the animal is kept at least 20 feet away from any  








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               mobile food facility, temporary food facility, or certified  
               farmers' market.

          3)Makes law enforcement officers, private patrol operators, and  
            disabled people who bring dogs into a food facility liable for  
            any damage done to the premises by the dog.

          4)Defines "food facility" to mean an operation that stores,  
            prepares, packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food  
            for human consumption at the retail level.  Includes, within  
            the definition of food facility, any place used in conjunction  
            with a facility's operations, including, but not limited to,  
            storage facilities for food-related utensils, equipment, and  
            materials.

          5)States, under Food Code, the intent of the Legislature to  
            occupy the whole field of health and sanitation standards for  
            retail food facilities, and makes standards set forth in the  
            Food Code exclusive of all local health and sanitation  
            standards relating to retail food facilities, with exceptions  
            in 6), below.  Finds and declares that the public health  
            interest requires that there be uniform statewide health and  
            sanitation standards for retail food facilities to assure the  
            people of this state that the food will be pure, safe, and  
            unadulterated.

          6)Provides an exception to 5), above, for local governing bodies  
            that:  

             a)   Adopt food facility evaluation or grading systems;

             b)   Prohibit any type of food facility; 

             c)   Adopt an employee health certification program; 
             d)   Regulate the provision of consumer toilet and  
               handwashing facilities; or,

             e)   Adopt specified requirements related to food trucks.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  None

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Purpose of this bill  .  This bill seeks to authorize food  
            facilities that so choose to allow their customers to bring  








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            their pet dogs with them to the outdoor dining areas of the  
            facility, while allowing local jurisdictions the flexibility  
            to continue regulating this activity.  This bill is sponsored  
            by Social Compassion in Legislation.

           2)Author's statement  .  According to the author, "Despite the  
            best efforts of counties to balance the desire of restaurant  
            and dog owners with the need to preserve public health, there  
            remains one hurdle they cannot overcome: state law preempts  
            any effort they make by prohibiting any dogs in food  
            facilities unless they are service animals or under the  
            control of law enforcement or licensed security personnel.   
            Some of these local jurisdictions have attempted to issue  
            guidelines on the basis that outdoor dining areas are not  
            considered part of 'food facilities' as defined in state law.   
            However, Section 113789 of the Health and Safety Code defines  
            a food facility as 'an operation that stores, prepares,  
            packages, serves, vends, or otherwise provides food for human  
            consumption at the retail level' as well as 'any place used in  
            conjunction with the operations described in this  
            subdivision.'  This definition extends the restrictions  
            created by Health and Safety Code Section 114259.5 to 'any  
            place used in conjunction' (with a food facility), which can  
            be interpreted to include outdoor dining areas maintained and  
            operated by food facilities. 

            "While city and county health officials can choose to  
            selectively enforce the prohibitions created by Health and  
            Safety Code Section 114259.5, they cannot protect business  
            owners from legal actions brought by patrons who disapprove of  
            a restaurant's policy of allowing dogs.  Likewise, selective  
            enforcement could make local health departments vulnerable to  
            litigation for failing to enforce state mandated health  
            standards.

            "In addition to those cities and counties creating policies to  
            address this issue, there are some areas where there is simply  
            confusion over the scope of the current law.  Ventura County's  
            health department has issued documentation identifying outdoor  
            dining areas as areas where dogs are permitted as they believe  
            these areas do not to qualify as part of the legal definition  
            of a food facility.

            "It is clear that many dog owners have an interest in dining  
            with their dogs and that many restaurant owners want to  








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            accommodate these potential customers.  It is also clear that  
            many local governments want to assist these groups by creating  
            carefully considered guidelines to accommodate them.  However,  
            current state law on this issue prevents any of these groups  
            working together to agree on a method for allowing this  
            practice in any way.  AB 1965 rectifies this by giving the  
            choice to serve these customers while preserving the authority  
            of local governments to determine what policy best serves  
            their community."

           3)Background  .  In 2011, in response to the advocacy of dog and  
            restaurant owners, the Los Angeles County Department of Public  
            Health (DPH) adopted a new policy allowing pet dogs in outdoor  
            dining areas, provided certain conditions are met, including:   
            a separate entrance to the patio; no food preparation or  
            utensil storage on the patio; no employee-pet contact; and,  
            immediate cleaning and sanitization of areas where excrement  
            or bodily fluids are deposited.  In an advisory bulletin, Los  
            Angeles DPH acknowledges that the Food Code continues to  
            prohibit live animals inside food facilities, but also notes  
            that local jurisdictions have varying interpretations of the  
            law.  A Ventura County fact sheet on animals in food  
            facilities states that the prohibition on animals "does not  
            apply to outdoor dining areas such as patio dining," and a  
            number of other county environmental health departments,  
            including Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, provide  
            guidance indicating dogs may be allowed in outdoor dining  
            areas or that such areas are not considered part of the food  
            facility.

           4)Previous legislation  .  AB 1252 (Committee on Health), Chapter  
            556, Statutes of 2013, made numerous changes to the Food Code,  
            including clarifying that a service animal in training  
            qualifies as a service animal for purposes of the Food Code  
            and deleting a requirement that the work or tasks performed by  
            a service animal be directly related to an individual's  
            disability.

           5)Arguments in support  .  Social Compassion in Legislation, the  
            sponsor of this bill, states, "Many restaurants choose to take  
            their chances and allow dogs on their patios, but it remains  
            illegal.  We want to support these businesses and encourage  
            more to open up to our canine family members.  AB 1965 would  
            permit restaurants to voluntarily allow pet dogs in outdoor  
            seating areas under specified conditions unless a local  








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            ordinance determines otherwise?We need this state law changed  
            to allow the local jurisdictions to set their own policy on  
            this issue."

           6)Arguments in opposition  .  None on file.

           7)Double-referral  .  This bill was heard in the Health Committee,  
            where it passed on a 17-1 vote on March 25, 2014.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Social Compassion in Legislation
          Cabrillo Kennel Club

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by :    Angela Mapp / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958