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Legislation aimed at helping food servers

Published May 05. 2011 05:07PM

Rep. Julie Harhart (R-Northampton/Lehigh) says that all legislation is important and impacts society as a whole.

She recently had the opportunity to personally author legislation that can help fix a problem brought to her by a local waitress who explained to Harhart that her tips were being docked when a customer she serves chooses to pay for his or her meal with a credit card.

"As you know, when customers choose to pay their bill with a credit card, it is common practice for the credit card company to charge business owners a 3 percent to 4 percent transaction fee. Apparently, some employers, as relayed to me by my constituent, pass this fee onto servers by taking the fee out of the tip customers leave them on their credit card slip. Quite frankly, I was surprised to hear about this practice and I was equally surprised to find there is no law prohibiting this type of deduction," says Harhart.

For servers who earn a base pay of $2.83 per hour, this type of deduction to his or her tips can have a huge financial impact.

Harhart says that those who rely on tips as part of their salary should not have their pay deducted in any fashion simply due to the way in which a customer chooses to pay the bill.

"I think this practice is unfair and certainly needs to be changed. After researching this issue a bit further, I was able to draft legislation to prohibit this type of practice. I am pleased to report my legislation, House Bill 1353, has now been introduced and is currently before the House Labor and Industry Committee. This is one bill I sponsored, specific to my community," she says.

She also authored legislation, HB438, the "Battle of the Bulge Veterans Memorial Highway."

"The legislation would extend the current designation of State Route 145 in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, from the intersection of U.S. Route 22 northward to the intersection of Main Street in the Borough of Walnutport, Northampton County. This bill passed the House on April 11, 2011, unanimously, and is now before the Senate Transportation Committee.

"If this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, motorists who travel this stretch of road will forever be reminded of the brave veterans who fought in this pivotal battle during World War II."

Harhart wants her constituents to know that her door is always open. To contact her, visit her website at, email her at or call or stop by one of her district offices at 2030 Center St., Northampton, 610-502-2701 or Slatington Borough Hall, 125 S. Walnut St., First Floor, Slatington, 610-760-9805.

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