The 2018 Florida Legislative Session is under way and I am sponsoring an important bill that will bring stability, optimism, and protections for Florida’s small business owners—leveling the playing field between large national corporations and every day Floridians. Senate Bill 1076, the “Small Business Parity Act” will protect Florida’s small business franchise owners from unfair practices and will promote economic growth and additional jobs for Florida. Small businesses currently employ over 400,000 people in our state with a $35 billion impact to our economy and we must continue to do everything we can to support them.
These local franchise owners are members of your local community that you interact with daily—whether it be during your stop at the convenient store, grabbing a bite to eat, or your morning coffee. They are immersed in their communities and they have a vested interest in seeing them succeed. They may employ your friends and neighbors or sponsor your child’s little league team. These are hardworking every day Floridians that are the backbone of our state’s economy and I am proud to sponsor this bill that provides basic protections so that they can continue to thrive.
The bill protects our local franchise owners against national corporations coming in and unfairly or unjustly terminating a franchise owner’s contract without good cause. This is common sense—a corporation should not be able to come in and terminate a franchisor’s contract with the snap of a finger. It also provides franchise owners the ability to sell or transfer their businesses and supplies. Many of these small business owners have invested their life savings into their businesses and their investments should be protected and they should be treated fairly.
Lastly, the bill provides that any disputes arising out of a relationship between a franchise owner and its national brand will be handled by Florida courts under Florida law. Our small business owners should not be at the mercy of out of state courts making decisions for Floridians. This legislation will provide much needed stability and confidence to the thousands of franchise owners across the state of Florida and will encourage growth, new investment, and additional jobs.
The realization that small businesses are critical to our nations’ economy has already led 23 other states to enacting similar legislation. I am confident that Florida will be added to that growing list. At the end of the day this bill is about supporting individuals in pursuit of the American dream—the ability to own and operate a business, support and improve their local communities, and provide for their families. I am proud to stand up for these individuals by sponsoring Senate Bill 1076, the “Small Business Parity Act.”
Senator Greg Steube is a Republican representing Sarasota and Charlotte County.