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Ok this is political protectionism to the enth degree.

As if the citizens of California are not already over taxed, the California legislature will be facing a bill that will mandate that hotels eliminate flat sheets and require all hotels to have fitted sheets on hotel beds.

Section 1 of the legislation requires: “The use of a fitted sheet, instead of a flat sheet, as the bottom sheet on all beds within the lodging establishment. For the purpose of this section, a “fitted sheet” means a bed sheet containing elastic or similar material sewn into each of the four corners that allows the sheet to stay in place over the mattress.”

So where does that leave California?  The purpose of the law, according to the bill, is to “adopt an occupational safety and health standard for lodging establishment housekeeping.” The bill explains, “The standard shall apply to all hotels, motels, and other lodging establishments in California.”

While California faces a $26 billion debt, the legislature somehow believes that it is in the best interest of Californians to burden the hotel industry, which is already struggling. The bill is estimated to add anywhere from $15 to $30 million in costs to the hotel industry, as hotels will have to purchase new fitted sheets for the 550,000 hotel beds in the state.

The bill was introduced by (D) State Senator Kevin De Leon. De Leon, whose mother suffered back problems as a hotel maid, said that the bill addresses an issue that is “close to my heart,” as the bill has been prompted by a growing number of housekeeping-related back injuries.

A number of bloggers have mocked the legislation, including those at the Constitution Club, which wrote, “Assuming the bill passes … who is going to enforce it? Mattress police? Fitted-sheet police? Undercover officers posing as hotel maids?”

Perhaps the Constitution Club is on to something. This legislation may give California an opportunity to expand the size of its government a bit further, perhaps creating a department or agency to ensure that the law is enforced. Stranger things have happened in California.

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

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