State Reports: Across the U.S. A look at state and local legislation that could impact your franchise.

Author:Hanscom, Jeff
 
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For all of you reading this in Washington, D.C., welcome to the IFA Franchise Action Network Annual Meeting! For everyone else, make plans to be in town next fall. Speaking of fall, as always around this time of year, most of the state legislatures have wrapped up their 2018 sessions and are already beginning to look ahead to 2019. A number of the franchising community's top issues came to the forefront in state capitals across the country this year.

JOINT EMPLOYER

IFA's Government Relations team has continued to push proactive joint employer legislation across the country, recently adding Idaho to the list and bringing the total to 19 states that have enacted legislation. We're aiming to make it an even 20 states before the end of the year. Ohio is considering similar legislation, and we hope to have it on the governor's desk later this fall.

BEWARE 'LITTLE GUY' BILLS

Franchise relationship bills came up in Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 2018. The IFA again led a coalition in Tallahassee to push back on the proposal and was successful in defeating the legislation. Legislators in Harrisburg, Pa. looked at the issue and elected not to move the proposal forward after consultation with IFA and other interested parties. We are actively monitoring the proposal in Trenton, N.J. and continue to oppose it. The legislation is framed as looking out for the "little guy," protecting them from the big, bad, out-of-state franchisor.

However, pull back the curtain, and these bills can be seen for what they truly are; an effort on the part of a single franchisee, typically a very large, sophisticated multi-unit owner who is working to legislate a better deal. The story has been repeated each and every time bills like these come up. While such proposals may appear favorable to franchisees, their enactment will lead to unintended consequences that weaken franchisees' equity in their businesses, damage brands, reduce product quality, limit franchisor assistance, increase incentives for litigation and jeopardize constitutionally guaranteed contract rights.

PREDICTIVE SCHEDULING

Moving one rung down the legislative ladder, predictive scheduling has become a big issue at the local level, with numerous cities examining or having enacted laws addressing it. To date, New York City, Seattle and San Francisco...

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