Effort underway to repeal California law that reclassifies independent contractors as employees

State News

SACRAMENTO (KGET) — An effort to repeal California’s new, controversial labor law is underway.

Workers from across the state protested against the law Tuesday at the state capitol.

The anger was audible at the rally against AB5. 

“Where is the job that hires a guy that speaks Japanese, Spanish, English, that composes, performs, is an emcee, there is not a job that exists for me,” said interpreter David Higbee. 

Musicians, writers, translators and other workers across political ideologies stood alongside California Republicans against the state’s new labor law.

At the start of the year, the law reclassified workers in more than 150 professions requiring many independent contractors to be employees. 

Supporters have said employers get around wage and benefit protections by misclassifying workers. 

The law is commonly known for its potential impact on rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, but the scrutiny spreads across several industries. 

“The freelance world pours water on the culture, without AB5’s repeal, it’s going to dry up and blow away,” said Novelist Walter Kirn.

Republicans are rolling out a legislative blitz attempt against AB5, with several bills set to  exclude some industries from the law along with efforts to flat out remove it from the books. 

Today they sent a message to the governor.

“On January 10th he wrote a letter to me and my colleagues, envisioning a state where millions of people come together in pursuit of their own version of the California dream,” Assm. Kevin Kiley. “Governor Newsom your vision cannot be reality as long as AB5 is on the books.”

He lawmaker who authored AB5, Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, was not available for comment on this repeal effort Tuesday. 

The new bills filed against AB5 are not yet scheduled for any hearings. 

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