When fast food restaurants across California have to start paying workers $20 per hour on April 1, one major chain will be exempted from the mandate—and it just so happens to have a connection to a longtime friend and donor to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Panera Bread is poised to get a boost from a bizarre clause in the fast-food minimum wage law that exempts “chains that bake bread and sell it as a standalone item,” Bloomberg reports, adding that “Newsom pushed for that break, according to people familiar with the matter.”

This is from Eric Boehm, “Why Is Panera Exempted From California’s New Minimum Wage Law?Reason, February 28, 2024.

And Newsom kind of admits, in his sleazy way, that he did a friend a favor:

Asked directly about the bakery exemption at a press conference last year, Newsom said it was “part of the sausage making” of the legislative process. “We went back and forth, and it was part of the negotiation,” he added.

Fortunately, Bloomberg was on it:

Bloomberg‘s reporting suggests it was something Newsom sought in those negotiations: The bakery carve-out “was adopted as a means of winning the governor’s support for the legislation, said a person with knowledge of the discussions. The rationale was the governor’s longstanding relationship with a Panera franchisee, the person said.”