Unfortunately, the saying “as goes California, so goes the nation” remains true to this day. Under the Biden administration, we have seen the Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and even President Biden praise California and their “investments” to combat climate change. Yet with all those investments, California sees wildfires every year, and Governor Gavin Newsom continuously blames it on climate change.
Three years ago this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) into law, essentially outlawing freelance journalism and most other independent contracting. Opponents of the bill warned the law would devastate the longstanding careers of many independent businesspeople in the Golden State. Three years later, it’s clear the critics had it right: AB5 has proven to be among the most ill-conceived state labor policies in recent memory.
AB5 has limited journalists and other independent contractors to find freelance jobs, and it has limited their options on where they could work. AB5 is anything but “worker-friendly,” All it does is hurt the working and middle class.
My RedState colleagues have done extensive reporting on the disastrous AB5 law. Here are a few of those articles:
- CA’s AB5 About to Throw Another Major Wrench in the Supply Chain, and 70,000 Truckers in Limbo
- California Freelance Slayer Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher’s Ego Wrote Checks Her Mouth Couldn’t Cash
- AB5 Video Puts California Contractor Law and Its Consequences into Tragic Focus
- California Trucker Convoys Jack up Traffic in Protest of AB5
- Good News! California’s Prop 22 Passes Decisively, Defeating Big Labor’s Power Grab
- CA Freelancers Organize Massive Pushback to Gig Economy Misinformation Campaign
Here is how Biden framed it when tweeting about the law in May 2020:
Last year California passed #AB5, affording gig workers protections and benefits like a minimum wage and overtime pay.
Now, gig economy giants are trying to gut the law and exempt their workers. It's unacceptable.
I urge Californians to vote no on the initiative this November.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) May 27, 2020
But that is far from the truth. AB5 limits workers’ options. Some choose to be freelancers, but due to this law, they no longer have that choice. Some freelancers make much more than the minimum wage; some make about the same as the minimum wage, while others make below the minimum wage but could have another part-time job, too, because AB5 gave workers that flexibility. But that choice was stripped from Californians because of the one-party rule in Sacramento.
The Hill notes:
The Biden administration repeatedly has called for an AB5-style labor regime at the national level under the guise of the PRO Act, which is framed as a proposal to expand labor protections for workers who want to organize a union. However, the bill includes the same stifling three-part test to separate independent contractors from employees, following the worst parts of the AB5 model.
The PRO Act passed the House in 2019 and 2021, and President Biden renewed the call for Congress to enact the legislation this month in a Labor Day proclamation. Don’t be fooled by the innocuous “pro-worker” packaging of the PRO Act. It essentially would subject every independent worker in the United States to California’s disastrous AB5 approach to labor relations.
If this becomes national law, it will be disastrous for workers across America. The Democrats claim to care about the working and middle class, yet the middle class has suffered the most under the Biden administration. If AB5 becomes national law, the working and middle class will get the brunt of it.
California State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-CA), also running for Congress in California’s third district, has been one of the leading voices opposing the AB5 law.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) August 19, 2020
AB5 is a disaster for Californians and the fifth-largest economy in the world; it will be a disaster for the United States.