Massachusetts: a profile: this profile is the first in an occasional series examining the issues and atmosphere guiding politics and policy in the various states and the impact they have on franchising.

Author:Flanagan, Troy
Position:FW FOCUS: GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
 
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Key Issues in Franchising

From colonial tax revolts and the first shots of the American Revolution, those in the "Bay State" have been at the forefront of American policy and politics. In recent years, the state has set the trend on various legislative issues from health care to social policy to transportation infrastructure needs. Working with key allies such at the Retail Association of Massachusetts, here are some key issues in Massachusetts that the International Franchise Association is addressing today:

Franchise Relationship Legislation

The year 2007 saw the reintroduction of legislation that drastically inserts new state guidelines and mandates into the franchise agreement, focusing a great deal of attention on the termination process. A public committee hearing was held on the legislation June 20, at which the IFA and Dunkin' Brands testified. No action was taken on the bill, but potential action in 2008 remains a possibility. This legislation is similar to bills introduced repeatedly over the last decade, all of which have received little attention.

Health Care

Massachusetts led the way in 2006 with the enactment of massive health-care reform law requiring residents of the state to have health-care coverage and placing new requirements on employers. Under the new system, employers of 11 or more full-time equivalent employees who do not contribute either 33 percent or more of the cost toward an employee's health insurance premium or have less than 25 percent of their workers enrolled in the employer's sponsored health plan are subject to a maximum $295 per FTE employee assessment. Numerous states have already begun trying to duplicate the Massachusetts model, even before full implementation has been achieved.

Restaurant Mandates

Bans on trans fatty acids in cooking oils, as well as mandatory menu labeling at restaurants, are two issues that remain active in Massachusetts and around the United States. IFA continues to focus on the unfair nature of such bills that only place such mandates or moratoria on so-called "chain" or...

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