California assembly members working to nullify gig economy bill

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A new state law that’s expected to make a major impact on California’s workforce is causing some controversy.

A week before it goes into effect, some lawmakers are trying to get it repealed.

“Our goal is to undo the harm,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore.

Melendez said she and fellow Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley are set to file a bill this year that would void the new law commonly called Assembly Bill 5. The new law will redefine workers that would classically be considered independent contractors as employees across several industries.

“What we are doing is introducing a constitutional amendment, that way we can clearly define what an independent contractor is,” Melendez said. “And any changes that anyone might want to make to that, they would have to do another constitutional amendment, that way there isn’t this tinkering back and forth.”

Melendez’s proposal comes as the state faces multiple lawsuits for enacting AB 5 from groups, including freelancers and truckers. Several claim their business or job was lost or is in jeopardy because of it.

Leaders of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have been putting up millions for a 2020 ballot initiative to let voters decide if AB 5 should apply to their workers.

Supporters of the law say employers misclassify workers as independent contractors to bypass wage and benefit protections.

The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, tweeted Tuesday, saying, “Worker misclassification hurts everyone. We will continue to clarify this law, but rest assured, it won’t be repealed.”

“We want people to be treated fairly and be protected under the law, but this bill went way, way too far and people are being harmed by this,” Melendez said.

Ashley Zavala filed this report.

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