California never ceases to stun the world with its flawed policy choices. Its latest bad decision comes from the California Assembly, which just passed AB 1228, the Fast-Food Franchisor Responsibility Act. This seeks to establish joint liability between California quick-service franchise brands and their independent franchisees with 100 or more locations nationwide.

But new polling released this week from Oxford Economics shows that California franchised restaurant owners overwhelmingly oppose AB 1228 with 92% saying they are “strongly” opposed while 98% believe the law would interfere with their freedom to run their businesses independently.

Earlier this month, over 100 California franchise owners from 21 brands traveled to Sacramento to urge their legislators to reject AB 1228, highlighting their concerns that the legislation will take away their independence as business owners, force corporate control on their restaurants, hurt jobs, and raise prices.

“California voters have made it clear they do not want a government takeover of their local restaurants, yet Assemblymembers today voted in favor of special interests against the will of their constituents,” Jeff Hanscom, International Franchise Association vice president of state and local government relations, said in a press statement. “AB 1228 has the potential to destroy tens of thousands of local franchised restaurants by taking away their independence in favor of corporate control and more government intervention. This will eliminate the equity local restaurant owners have built over decades and take away any future opportunities for franchise business ownership, especially people of color, women, immigrants and other underrepresented communities. The California Senate should reject this misguided bill before it will force restaurant closures, crush jobs, and raise prices on hardworking Californians.”

AB 1228 comes on top of AB 257 or the FAST Recovery Act, passed last year, and is creating a nightmare of bureaucracy that singles out fast food restaurants by creating an unelected board to govern labor law (wages, working conditions, etc) at firms with more than 100 locations nationwide (even if there is only one in California).

The new bureaucracy is called the Fast Food Sector Council within the Department of Industrial Relations. Think of it as a Death Panel, but instead of rationing health care it’s rationing fast food products and jobs. 

Between April 2020 and July 2022, the number of people leaving California surpassed the number of people moving in by more than 700,000, due to rising housing costs and crowded, crime-filled cities. The Golden State is looking tarnished right now, though there’s always time to make better choices.