The State of California cannot even manage the business of government, so it is always galling when the legislature attempts to insert itself into areas of business it does not belong. But why pass up an opportunity to make our Golden State even less competitive for small businesses?

The latest attempt in overreach is AB 257, sponsored by the Service Employees International Union, which sets aside existing labor laws, in favor of a new set of rules that will be developed and enforced by 11 unelected political appointees. AB 257 will create a new, independent regulatory “council” with unprecedented authority to draft and enact workplace rules, free of meaningful oversight by legislators or the governor

Yes, you heard correctly. AB 257 wants to put an unelected body in control over the worker-employee relationship in franchised and counter service restaurant.

This is the same state government that has:

  • Allowed $20-billion dollars to be stolen through EDD fraud 
  • Spent billions for a bullet train to nowhere
  • Created the highest gas taxes in the country, despite receiving billions and billions of federal dollars from US taxpayers.

Every business owner, big and small, restaurant or not, should be concerned about this bill because you are next. The supporters claim this only will apply to “fast food” restaurants. In reality, it captures a much wider swath of the restaurant industry. And while this bill initially targets the restaurant industry, the precedent established in AB 257 will quickly spread to other sectors of the California economy.

Does this Legislature understand that franchise businesses are especially an avenue for people in the underserved communities that don’t have the capital to start and grow their own small business and create jobs and opportunities in their communities? According to the International Franchise Association, franchises are known to give women, members of the LGBTQ-plus community, new immigrants and people of color unprecedented business-owning opportunities – 60% of California restaurants are owned by people of color. From auto repair to childcare, the franchise model meets customer needs with a known and trusted brand.

How many in this unelected council have ever signed the front of a check? Will they be community organizers and academics or real business owners who are wading through the endless amounts of regulations and taxes imposed by this state legislature? 

With all the challenges facing our state – homelessness which $12 billion in taxpayer dollars hasn’t been fixed, or repeat criminals walking the streets because of laws this Legislature passes, or the highest gas tax in the country – maybe this Legislature should do less, not more when it comes to regulating small business.

Carried out to its logical conclusion, the state will ultimately want to form special councils to set wages for your kid’s allowance, what you pay your babysitter and even how much the Tooth Fairy should be coughing up. If you think that is ridiculous you haven’t been paying enough attention to what happens in Sacramento.

Hector and Mike are political and communications experts with 50+ years of experience who look at politics, society, and government decisions and give their take on what is missing, lacking, or what is done right. They provide common sense solutions in an uncommon world.