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Newsom team hits back over claims he helped donor get minimum wage carveout

Flynn has reportedly donated at least $164,800 to Newsom's campaigns and is the second-largest Panera Bread operator in the world.

Published: February 29, 2024 9:26pm

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday rejected claims that an exception he granted to the state's $20 per hour minimum wage would apply to a string of Panera Bread franchises owned by former classmate and donor Greg Flynn.

An exception to the state law exists for fast-food chains that bake and sell bread on their premises. Reporting from Bloomberg this week suggested that Flynn worked to convince Newsom's staff that Panera ought not qualify as fast-food. Flynn has reportedly donated at least $164,800 to Newsom's campaigns and is the second-largest Panera Bread operator in the world.

Newsom spokesman Alex Stack on Thursday stated that "[t]he Governor never met with Flynn about this bill and this story is absurd," according to Politico. He further contended that Newsom's legal team did not believe Panera franchises would qualify for the exception under the law.

Passed last year, the minimum wage hike for fast-food workers will take effect in April. The current minimum wage in California is $16 per hour. The claims Newsom helped Flynn secure an exception have attracted scrutiny from state Republicans, some of whom have called for an investigation.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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