SAN FRANCISCO--California Assemblyman Bill Monning's proposed bill prohibiting food trucks from vending within 1,500 feet of any elementary, middle or high school in California has been the subject of intense controversy virtually since the moment it was introduced earlier this year.
Proponents of the Golden State's mobile foodie movement have charged that the bill would effectively ban food trucks almost entirely from densely populated urban areas--such as San Francisco, where almost the entire city is within 1,500 feet (approximately three blocks) of a school.
"The leading purchases from mobile vendors located at school sites are sugary drinks and snacks containing high levels of salt and sugar," wrote Monning in an editorial for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. "California Food Policy Advocates has identified the presence of mobile food vending trucks at schools as one of the most significant influences undermining nutritious school food programs."
Last month, Monning told The Huffington Post he was working with both food truck advocates and school officials to hammer out a compromise designed to stop trucks from providing California students with the unhealthy food items that many school districts around the state have worked hard to eliminate from lunch menus.
"I'm confident we can hammer out language in the bill that threads the needle of protecting kids and allowing access for adults," he said.
This week, Monning revealed an amended version of the bill designed to counter criticisms from people like San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who called the original, "an extreme piece of legislation that's...a very non-urban approach that doesn't work in a city like San Francisco."
The new version significantly reduces the buffer zone food trucks are required to give schools down to 500 feet, makes the law solely apply to public institutions instead of both public and private ones, permits schools to invite trucks on campus for various events and fundraisers, allows for food trucks to be parked on non-residential private property or construction sites near schools and permits local municipalities to pass their own ordinances (prior to January 2013) regarding food trucks and schools that would supersede the statewide law.
This final amendment in the bill is crucial because it allows for bills like the one recently proposed by Weiner that would have shrunk San Francisco's own, already-on-the-books food truck ban from 1,500 feet down to the span of a single city block.
Wiener had also proposed a non-binding resolution before the city's Board of Supervisors condemning Monning's bill; however, according to Beyond Chron, Wiener postponed the official vote on that particular measure in light of Monning's recent amendments.
Check out this video about San Francisco's popular Off The Grid food truck party: