Lawmakers Announce Legislation Promoting Fair Business Practices for Florida’s Franchise Owners

Jan 22 • 345 Views • View Comments

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Legislation supported by the Coalition of Franchisee Associations

Florida’s small business owners will benefit from fair business standards under new legislation sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen. The proposal will establish commonsense safeguards ensuring that entrepreneurs who often invest their lifesavings into a franchised business have parity when it comes to the business relationship with their corporate franchisor. These business standards will promote economic opportunity and encourage continued investment in our state’s small businesses.

The proposal filed by Steube and Fitzenhagen will provide legal protections for businesses, leading to more economic growth and jobs in communities across the state. The Small Business Parity Act will introduce a greater degree of fairness for owners of franchised small businesses in Florida. The bill would apply only to renewals and new franchise contracts issued after the bill’s effective date.

“Florida’s hard-working franchise owners typically invest more than $375,000 of their own personal savings in order to pursue their dream of owning a small business, and we must do our part to help protect these investments in our local communities,” said Sen. Steube, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “These dedicated small business owners employ more than 404,000 Floridians, and I am proud today to do my part to file commonsense legislation that would protect the livelihoods of these men and women.”

“We simply want to level the playing field for these small business owners,” said Rep. Fitzenhagen, the House sponsor. “The unfortunate truth is that many of these large, out-of-state corporations are taking advantage of the tremendous imbalance in the franchisor-franchisee relationship. This is wrong, and this bill provides an opportunity to level the playing field.”

If enacted into law, the Small Business Parity Act will:

  • defend franchise business owners from unjust terminations and non-renewals without good cause
  • defend franchise owners from unjust limitations on sales and transfers based on unreasonable requirements
  • give franchise owners the right to pursue legal disputes against their franchisors in Florida court and under Florida law
  • requires that both franchisors and franchise owners act in “good faith”

The Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) is supporting the new legislation for the upcoming legislative session. The CFA, founded in 2007 as the largest franchisee-only trade association in the country, provides a forum for its members to share best practices, knowledge, and resources for the benefit of all small businesses that operate independent franchise establishments.

“I wish Florida would offer me the same protections that more than 20 other states give to their small business owners,” said Terry Hutchinson, a Florida franchise owner. “Franchise owners like me support our local economies, hire people from our communities, and pay state taxes — we deserve a stable relationship with the corporate brands, so we can both grow and foster Florida’s economy.”

For more information on the Small Business Parity Act please visit protectFLbusiness.com.

 

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