With the 2020 legislative session coming to a close, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and members of the California Senate Republican Caucus once again fought for the rights of independent contractors to freely pursue a career in the freelance economy. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) predicted that the anti-worker law, Assembly Bill 5 (2019), has impacted the livelihoods of one million California independent contractors.
Republican Senators presented nine amendments to Assembly Bill 2257 including Leader Grove’s amendment which would have repealed and replaced AB 5. The Republicans’ amendments would allow many freelancers in the gig economy to maintain workers’ freedom in California. Senate Democrats rejected and blocked all amendments from being discussed during the final day of the Senate session.
Early in 2020, Senate Republicans introduced a package of bills to help independent contractors. Legislative Democrats either defeated or did not allow those bills to be brought up in committee. Click here to learn more about Republicans’ efforts in early 2020.
Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (Bakersfield)
“Protecting worker’s freedom should not be a partisan issue, but Senate Democrats continue to reject Republicans’ efforts to help the single parent who is an Uber driver or a college student who wants to earn money after class. While I voted in support of AB 2257 because it will provide some relief for workers, it is truly not enough. The legislature must stop picking winners and losers. Republicans will continue to fight for all independent contractors whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the anti-worker law because they deserve better.”
Senator Patricia Bates (Laguna Niguel)
“The Legislature should be helping to restore the freedom of ALL Californians – not just a few more – who want to continue working as independent contractors. That is why I supported amendments to AB 2257 to help even more Californians who have been hurt by AB 5. By rejecting the amendments, the majority party is showing that it is out of touch with real people who want to make a living while remaining independent.”
Senator Andreas Borgeas (Fresno)
“AB 5 has proven to be horrible policy, and now California is paying the price in the COVID-19 era when businesses are struggling to survive. The deliberate expansiveness of AB 5 could make franchisees employees of the main corporation, which would destroy the entire franchise model in California, and ultimately, the American dream of owning a franchise business.”
Senator Ling Ling Chang (Diamond Bar)
“AB 5 has created a mess, punishing independent contractors. We need to stop micromanaging the labor market, especially during this time. We have to fight for our hardworking individuals if we want a diverse and dynamic economy.”
Senate Republican Caucus Chair Brian Jones (Santee)
“The flexibility and success currently enjoyed by millions of independent contractors in California will be lost forever unless AB 5 is overturned. Today, Senate Republicans attempted to cut into AB 5 with a series of exemption amendments to a companion measure – AB 2257. While Senate Democrats and Governor Newsom blocked our amendment efforts, we did lay the groundwork for voters themselves to permanently shelve AB 5 in the November election.”
Senator Melissa Melendez (Lake Elsinore)
“AB 5 has been one of the worst pieces of legislation passed in this state, and any relief we can provide to California workers should be considered. California is already unaffordable, and AB 5 makes it harder for thousands and possibly millions of independent workers to provide for their families.”
Senator John Moorlach (Costa Mesa)
“AB 5 is a lousy tax law. The fact that the author is proposing carve outs only proves that AB 5 is poorly constructed. Similar to my Senate Bill 990, which the Democrats killed, the amendments I offered today would put the brakes on AB 5 until January 1, 2021 so that Californians who depend on independent contractor work can afford food and shelter in this government-induced economic crisis. The Legislature should be more deliberative about changing something that isn’t broken. Dynamex was broken, but not the whole independent contractor versus common law employee issue. We need to be more careful in the future with broad brushes that are dangerous and, perhaps, reckless.”
Senator Mike Morrell (Rancho Cucamonga)
“All of us should have flexibility and freedom in choosing our profession. However, under AB 5, Democrats in Sacramento took that choice away from interpreters and translators, freelance journalists in television, alarm installers, and even mall Santas, just to name a few. They even jeopardized the livelihoods of Uber and Lyft drivers. It is estimated the law could cost one million jobs, endangering California’s already fragile economy and inflicting financial loss on thousands of families. In addition, any business should be able to contract with any other business to provide needed services so that Californians can support themselves and their loved ones.”
Senator Jim Nielsen (Tehama)
“The only solution to this ill-conceived job killer measure, AB5, is a complete repeal. Every job affected by AB5 should be exempt. Workers must have their independence to choose to accommodate their individual needs restored. Nowhere else in America is this damaging policy being implemented.”
Senator Scott Wilk (Santa Clarita)
“The majority party tossed a life line today to just a handful of the thousands of professions devastated by AB 5. By not adopting the amendments offered today, they continued the unfair policy of picking winners and losers in the independent contractor world. It will take years to fix the damage done by AB 5.”
List of Republicans’ amendments to AB 2257:
Grove: Comprehensive Fix to repeal and replace AB 5
Jones: Tattoo artists
Bates: Freelance Journalists – television
Borgeas: Franchisors and Franchisees
Morrell: Business-to-Business Exemption
Moorlach: 2-year delay
Nielsen: Healthcare Industry
This article was released by the California Senate Republican Caucus.