Hundreds rally against AB 5, GOP lawmakers propose repeals

California Connection
Data pix.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Hundreds of people, affected by the new labor law, commonly referred to as Assembly Bill 5, rallied against the law at the State Capitol Tuesday while lawmakers unveiled a set of proposals to try to repeal it.

"Do you have a right to earn a living?" Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, asked the rallying crowd.

"Yes!" the crowd responded, their anger audible.

"Cause' who is going to give me, where is the job that hires a guy that speaks Japanese, Spanish, English, that composes, that performs, that is an emcee and does a million other things? There is not a job that exists for me," said David Higbee, an interpreter and translator.

Musicians, writers, translators and other freelancers across political ideologies stood alongside California Republicans against the state's new labor law.

At the start of the year, the law reclassified those in more than 150 professions, requiring many independent contractors to be employees. Supporters have said employers get around wage and benefit protections by misclassifying them.

The law is commonly known for its potential impact on rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, but the scrutiny spreads across several industries.

"The freelance world pours water on the culture to keep it alive. Without AB 5's repeal, it is going to dry up and blow away," explained novelist Walter Kirn.

Republicans are rolling out a legislative blitz attempt against AB 5 with several bills set to exclude some industries from the law, along with efforts to flat out remove it from the books.

Republicans sent a message to Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday.

"On January 10th, he wrote a letter to me and my colleagues envisioning a state where millions of people come together in pursuit of their own version of the California dream. Governor Newsom, your vision cannot be reality as long as AB 5 is on the books," said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin.

The lawmaker who authored AB 5, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, was not available for an interview or comment on Tuesday's repeal effort.

The new bills filed against AB 5 are not yet scheduled for any hearings.

Ashley Zavala filed this report.

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