After the California State Senate approved Assembly Bill 5 (Gonzalez) tonight which will significantly limit the ability of Californians to work as independent contractors, Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) issued the following statement:
“I opposed Assembly Bill 5 because it undermines the principle of equal treatment under the law and deprives many Californians the right to be their own bosses. The bill’s Christmas tree of exemptions is a prime example of the Legislature picking winners and losers. Why should some people enjoy an exemption while others such as newspaper carriers and language interpreters and translators do not?
“In regard to newspapers, one editorial quoted a former newspaper publisher in Mendocino County stating, ‘A newspaper is … the closest anyone will ever get to holding democracy in their hands.’ And the editorial then opined, ‘This bill (AB 5) threatens to rip that piece of democracy right out of our grip.’ I offered an amendment to fix this specific problem with AB 5. It’s unfortunate that Senate Democrats rejected it on a partisan vote.”
Before the Senate debated AB 5 today, Senator Bates introduced an amendment that would have exempted newspaper carriers and distributors. Editorial boards throughout the state, including the Orange County Register, San Diego Union-Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and San Jose Mercury News said AB 5 would endanger the newspaper industry. Senate Democrats rejected Senator Bates’ amendment. Under pressure to do something in order to gain enough votes for AB 5 to pass tonight, the Senate will consider Assembly Bill 170 (Gonzalez) later this week that will delay implementation of AB 5 for one year for newspaper carriers and distributors.
Earlier this year, Senator Bates co-authored Senate Bill 238 (Grove) that would have conformed California’s test for determining employment status for purposes of wage orders to the test established by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee killed SB 238 on a partisan vote on April 24, 2019.