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IFA takes its message to state and local decision makers: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu.

As part of its ongoing government relations program, the International Franchise Associauon meets regularly with various groups of elected officials and other stakeholders. The goal is to proactively educate these constituencies not only about the positions IFA advocates, but also to inform them of the consequences of harmful legislative proposals to the franchise industry. This includes promoting legislation that clarifies franchisees' status as independent contractors and dissuading legislators from introducing bills, which could harm both franchisees and franchisors.

The following is an overview of recent efforts to meet with these organizations and to help make sense of the often confusing alphabet soup of their acronyms.

United States Conference of Mayors/USCM

The USCM is the nonpartisan organization of mayors representing cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,295 such cities in the country today. IFA has worked closely with the USCM to publicize IFA's VetFran and MinorityFran programs, as well as collaborate with the mayors on economic development programs to promote franchising as a job creator. The mayors have two major meetings a year, one in January and one in June. IFA is an active participant on the Small Business and Franchising Task Force.

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee/DLCC

Republican Legislative Campaign Committee/RLCC

Democratic Attorneys General Association/DAGA

Republican Attorneys General Association/RAGA

As the above organizations' names imply, their primary mission is to elect state-level candidates from their respective parties. The meetings held by these groups allow IFA to speak first-hand with elected officials on legislation and regulatory actions important to the franchise industry.

National Conference of State Legislatures/NCSL

Council of State Governments/CSG

American Legislative Exchange Council/ALEC

Not all state legislative groups are partisan organizations. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves legislators and staffs of the nation's states, commonwealths and territories. IFA seeks out legislators from key states, at the NCSL annual meeting, which is the largest gathering of state officials.

CSG, in addition to representing state legislators, also includes governors and members of the judiciary.

Of particular importance to IFA is its involvement with ALEC, which is committed to "Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty." IFA sits on ALEC's Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force, which this past fall adopted a resolution proclaiming that a franchisee/franchisor relationship represents a contractual business relationship, not an employment relationship. This spring, Georgia's legislature unanimously passed similar legislation, which was signed into law. IFA plans to build upon this legislative success by encouraging other states to follow Georgia's lead and improve the business environment for franchising.

National Association of Attorneys General/NAAG

Conference of Western Attorneys General/CWAG

NAAG and CWAG are focused on assisting state attorneys general. As the states' chief law enforcement officials, attorneys general have a tremendous amount of influence on legislation and regulatory actions, including licensing of businesses and independent contractor issues.

State Retail Associations

In addition to working with organizations representing state elected officials, IFA has a long history of working with state retail associations. These groups are excellent legislative early warning systems. Retail associations are very familiar with independent contractor laws, as well as other business issues and have proven to be reliable allies. IFA belongs to many of them and is a regular sponsor of the Council of State Retail Associations' or CSRA annual meeting. This summer as in years past, IFA will give presentations on its advocacy efforts and plans.

IFA will continue to build and grow its network of organizations to further advocate on behalf of the franchise industry.

Dean Heyl is director, state government relations, public policy and tax counsel for the International Franchise Association. He can be reached at or 202-662-0792.
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Comment:IFA takes its message to state and local decision makers: if you're not at the table, you're on the menu.(STATE REPORT: ADVANCING FRANCHISING)
Author:Heyl, Dean
Publication:Franchising World
Date:Sep 1, 2012
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