Here's what supporters and opponents say about CA proposal that would regulate self-checkout

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Monday, May 6, 2024
Supporters, opponents react to bill that would regulate self-checkout
Advocates had a virtual news conference on Monday promoting a new bill that would regulate self-checkouts.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Advocates had a virtual news conference promoting a new bill that would regulate self-checkouts Monday morning.

Supporters say it'd cut down on thefts in California stores and boost employment.

"We must protect jobs and ensure worker safety," said Democratic Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (Los Angeles), who introduced the bill.

"1446 is essential to making sure that we are addressing all of the complexity of this issue of retail theft and most importantly putting workers and consumers first," Senator Smallwood-Cuevas said.

If passed, grocery and pharmacy retailers would need a dedicated employee for every 2 self-checkout stations. If stores fail to meet the requirements, they must close self-checkouts.

Letizia Costa said she manages the self checkout area at the Lucky supermarket in Pinole and that she got attacked when she reported theft.

"Because of this incident I am terrified to report any incidents of theft," Costa said. "This bill will ensure that grocery stores are properly staffed."

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But organizations including the California Retailers Association have come out against the proposed legislation.

"Some places are choosing to close down self checkout," said Rachel Michelin, California Retailers Association President and CEO. "And I think that that stores should have the ability to make that decision. I don't know that the state needs to mandate that."

Michelin added that they need to hold criminals accountable and go after repeat offenders to deter retail theft in the first place.

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The California Chamber of Commerce has also come out against the bill, saying it would put unnecessary restrictions on retail grocery and pharmacy stores implementing self-checkout and wouldn't result in less theft.

The California Grocers Association is also opposed, saying in a statement:

"Customers love self-checkout for its convenience, but SB 1446 would add barriers to make it anything but - restricting what shoppers can purchase through self-checkout and forcing grocers to overstaff the area. Although the bill claims to reduce retail theft, it would have the exact opposite effect, undermining a grocers' ability to defend itself by disallowing locked items like razors from being eligible for purchase via self-checkout. In this way, SB 1446 attempts to take advantage of California's very real concern about retail theft while actually hurting customers and grocers."

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