Flash Report: AB 5 Amendments Coming, Author Tweets

Assemblyman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), author of the controversial AB 5 legislation that is disrupting numerous industries in California, is now saying via social media that some amendments are in the works.

In tweets over the past 24 hours, Gonzalez says she hopes to have language out next week that strips the arbitrary 35 submission cap from the law for freelance journalists and adds that amendments are also in the works to limit the impact on freelance photographers, videographers and independent musicians.  As to the range of some 300 other kinds of independent contractors much may remain to be seen.

Gonzalez is carrying AB 1850 as the vehicle for implementing changes to the new law that took effect at the beginning of the year. The law included exemptions for many professionals and industries, but others still covered by the law’s more encompassing definition of what it means to be an employee are scrambling to comply.

Business to Business Exemption

The author says changes are also in the works for the law’s business-to-business exemption. “We will move up the B2B language in code to ensure folks understand it is the first exemption and specify that such an exemption is allowable for freelance writers,” she tweeted late yesterday.

Amendments addressing the original gig economy – musicians – are in the works as well.

“We are still pushing hard on industry and worker representatives to reach agreement on language regarding musicians,” Gonzalez tweeted yesterday. “We plan to address the unique situation regarding musicians in the next round of amendments by March.”

Musicians made up a significant portion of the crowd at a recent anti-AB 5 rally.

Gonzalez lays some of the blame for the holdup in drafting amendments at the feet of the state’s Employment Development Department. She makes no reference to the Department of Industrial Relations and the state Labor Commissioner and their oversight of the wage and hour laws impacted by the legislation.

“We are pushing hard to have EDD clarify their interpretation of the law to see if additional changes need to be made. For example, we will likely have to better define Fine Artists but are trying to get their interpretation first,” she tweeted. “This is just a piece of the clarifications you will see in AB 1850 & additional resources for relief for small businesses that are complying with this new law. We plan to have a few more formal announcements next week.”

Legislators are also proposing grant monies to help non-profits adjust their operations to comply with the new definition of employee. Gonzales joined a dozen other legislators to ask that $20 million be added to the state budget for a grant program for non-profit community arts programs. The funding is to aid them in transitioning workers from independent contracting arrangements into employees.