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My RedState colleagues Kira Davis and Jennifer Van Laar have written extensively about California’s job-killing bill AB5 which, among other things, severely curbs the ability of freelancers to make a living in order to provide for themselves and their families.
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who has issued declarations and signed executive orders all week long in response to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, should act immediately to suspend AB5.
This needs to happen now rather than later, so freelancers in California like Kira, Jen and our own Alex Parker can safely support their families during this time without fear of penalty:
But it’s not just about people who write for a living. Suspending AB5 would free up independent healthcare contractors to assist their fellow Californians with their medical needs at a critical time in the spread of the virus, which would give healthcare workers in doctors offices and hospitals more time to devote to life-saving in-house care needs. As one writes:
I have 20 years of experience in translating medical docs plus communication on corporate governance, policies and procedures, employee training programs & notifications, safety flyers, posters, etc. I know there is currently a higher demand to provide workers with timely information related to #COVID19 in various languages other than English. In California translators and interpreters are not permitted under #AB5 to assist with this need currently. During a pandemic this goes beyond individual translators and interpreters losing their livelihoods; multitudes of those who would enjoy their services are potentially left in the dark and put in harm’s way. This is immoral, criminal, and in this age of high tech when such services do not require physical proximity, completely unacceptable. Indirectly #AB5 contributes to heightened exposure and creates health and economic hazards in addition to an exponentially growing pandemic. This law is so wrong in so many aspects; yet, we have been repeating ourselves like broken records. Some of us are becoming suicidal. #AB5 is a destructive piece of legislation, putting special interests before the interests of the citizens. Governor Newsom has the power and the responsibility to suspend #AB5 with immediate effect.
Beyond that, because so many Californians will either have their hours scaled back as a result of all the places that have basically had to be shut down (restaurants, bars, and the like), many people will be seeking ways they can work from home, perhaps in a freelance capacity, because of the “social distance” rules that are now in effect. Suspending AB5 will allow them the freedom to pursue those opportunities knowing that their income has the potential to be unlimited as long as AB5 is not in effect.
The Orange County Register editorial board noted a good example of a need that needs fulfilling right now in their piece demanding Newsom suspend AB5:
The state should suspend any law that makes it even more difficult for Californians to pay their bills during this difficult time.
Empty grocery store shelves remind us of the important role of delivery drivers. We desperately need more drivers who can get goods to stores and deliver products to people’s homes. In fact, it’s far safer to have food and household goods delivered directly to people’s doors rather than have people waiting in store lines where the virus can easily be spread.
It’s my understanding that the state legislature has adjourned for at least a month because of the virus, so even if they wanted to repeal it they couldn’t do it at the moment anyway. But Newsom can act on it, and he should do so right away. Lives are quite literally depending on it.