Family is one of the most important things in Latino community. It is central to our day-to-day lives. You see it in the way we support one another, reach out to someone in need, or celebrate one of life’s milestones. Family is how we build strong communities. It makes sense that this foundation of family extends to how we conduct business and the businesses we own. Hispanics own 5.2 percent of all franchised businesses, according to U.S. Census data. These Hispanic-owned franchised businesses mean more than just a new restaurant or store opening in a neighborhood. It means new jobs and investment opportunities. It means support for local charities and afterschool programs. It means a more stable community built on locally owned businesses. Unfortunately, the California State Legislature is considering a bill that would put Hispanic-owned franchised businesses—and all the good they do—at risk. SB 610 rewrites California’s franchise law. It adds bureaucracy and red tape to the process of opening a new franchised business. While it may sound like a lot of legal jargon, it could have a big impact on the Hispanic community. Opening any new business is a risk, but SB 610 makes opening a new franchised business even riskier. It means fewer companies are going to be willing to invest in California. Consumers may or may not notice fewer restaurants, gyms, auto repair shops, and stores to choose from. But as a member of the Hispanic community, it is a different story. We will all feel the impact of fewer opportunities and fewer jobs as our community’s network of Hispanic-owned franchised businesses begins to erode. Franchised business in California employ nearly one million people and contribute over $94 billion to the state’s economy each year with a lot of those jobs and dollars going to the Hispanic community. The fact is, these types of businesses are already regulated under state law. This legislation is completely unnecessary. Despite the sluggish economy, franchising will continue to offer California’s growing Hispanic population opportunities to own their own business if the legislature doesn’t unnecessarily meddle in a private contracting process that already works. SB 610 is about more than franchise contract law. It’s about community, and this bill puts our community at risk. Alex Ontiveros, SVL Publisher
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