SACRAMENTO – Senate Democrats today passed Assembly Bill 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego), which would enshrine in state law the California Supreme Court’s 2018 Dynamex decision, which further restricts the ability of Californians to work as independent contractors.
Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), vice chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement, opposed the bill during the committee’s July hearing.
After today’s passage of AB 5 on a party-line vote, Morrell said:
“AB 5 fundamentally disrupts the right of millions of Californians to have independent working relationships with their clients or employers. It will take away jobs and livelihoods and make it more difficult for startup businesses with little capital to get off the ground. This is wrong. By choosing to exempt some industries, but not others, Democratic legislators and unions are picking winners and losers through a process that gives the distinct appearance of impropriety and is another indication that Sacramento Democrats continue to embrace a slide toward socialism.”
Senate Republicans previously proposed legislation (SB 238) that would have treated all industries equally in applying the law regarding independent contracting. Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) offered that policy as an amendment to AB 5 on the Senate Floor, but Democrats voted it down.
Senate Republicans also called out the process of choosing exemptions for various industries as arbitrary and unfair. They proposed additional amendments on the Senate Floor for other industries that did not make the cut determined by Democrats and labor, including physical therapists, landscape architects, single-truck owner-operators, franchisors, interpreters, and others. Senate Democrats voted them down.
AB 5 now returns to the Assembly for a final vote before it goes to the governor for signature.