Motion to suspend gig economy law denied while exemptions are assessed

California Connection
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- An attempt to suspend California’s controversial gig economy law failed to gain traction in the Assembly Thursday.

Rocklin Assemblyman Kevin Kiley had reason for wanting an emergency exception to House rules to determine whether Assembly Bill 5 could be put on hold.

"You've got folks who have completely lost their livelihood, lost the ability to make a living, to provide for their family and it is all because of this law," Kiley told FOX40.

But the procedural vote fell extremely short of the two-thirds vote needed to take up the suspension of AB 5 in the Democrat-dominated Assembly.

There are over 30 proposed changes to the law, which must go through committees and analysis regardless of which party backs it.

“We're doing that. You don't jump in front of the line with one bill,” said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento.

But Kiley argued the law has already cut off work for thousands of independent contractors.

"The bill is harming people. It's destroying lives,” Kiley said.

While some are urging patience and trust in the process, others say the damage has already been done.

“My clients have all decided to not work with me anymore,” said Christine, who sets up conventions.

Christine and others said clients are balking at having to provide overtime, minimum wage, medical insurance, breaks for meals and social security for piecemeal work.

"I've lost three of my clients, three huge clients,” said sound engineer John Smith.

Smith said he and his peers are not included in some of the many exemptions given to doctors and other professionals represented by lobbyists.

"If it needs that many carveouts and exemptions, it's a bad bill,” said translator Esther Park.

Park said her work as a translator has been cut off by clients who may be forced to put her on payroll.

Lawmakers are working to exclude musicians, journalists and freelance writers from AB 5.

But family entertainer Mary Jordan said she will be left out in the cold.

"I've lost 75% of my yearly income,” she said. "We're working for schools, we're looking for libraries, we're looking for churches. They can't afford this extra cost.”

But AB 5 author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said the law benefits thousands of gig workers whom the courts have said are misclassified and that tweaks to a major change in labor law are expected.

"It's going to take some time to get it right. We're going to do that,” she said.

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