Lloyd Billingsley, New law targets freelance writers and independent contractors.
As Katy Grimes of the California Globe reports, hundreds of independent contractors gathered at the state capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday to protest California’s Assembly Bill 5, by San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez. According to the protesters, the law threatens their right to earn a living.
“Perhaps never in our history has a legislative enactment so shattered the lives of so many people, or so shaken the foundations of our pluralist society,” said Kevin Kiley, a Republican Assemblyman from nearby Roseville. “Hardly an industry or trade is unscathed.”
The rally included independent contractors from a number of professions, including anesthesiologists. Prominent among the protesters were hundreds of freelance writers, primary targets of the legislation.
Assembly Bill 5 limits freelance writers to 35 submissions per year, per publication, and the same restriction applies to photographers, videographers, cartoonists and such. As independent writers have noted, 35 submissions per year is fewer than one per week. The threat to writers’ livelihood might be clearer if AB 5 limited independent electricians to 35 jobs per years, plumbers to 35 repairs a year, or gardeners to cleaning 35 yards per year.
As with Uber and Lyft drivers, Gonzalez wants the writers to be unionized full-time staffers, at a time when establishment newspapers are shedding such staffers by the day. The primary targets of AB 5 are new websites such as the California Globe, now providing independent news and commentary for the people. True to form, the Sacramento Bee failed to cover the AB 5 protest at the state capitol. The Bee’s opinion editor Gil Duran is a former press secretary for Gov. Jerry Brown, and former communications director for Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Stanford grad Gonzalez, with a JD from UCLA, worked as the senior advisor to California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, a former Assembly Speaker. Gonzalez was also a union organizer with the AFL-CIO’s San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council and gained election to the Assembly in 2013. The San Diego Democrat has since been hailed by the Atlantic as California’s “most influential female politician” and earned a place on Politico’s list of 50 “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.”
Her AB 5 targets writers’ livelihood and infringes their First Amendment rights. The bill faces legal action from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association. The freelancers claimed they had already lost work but federal judge Philip Gutierrez, an appointee of George W. Bush, failed to put a hold on the measure based on the timing of the complaint, not the merits.
The case awaits a hearing in March and Senate Bill 868, a new measure by Republican state Sen. Patricia Bates, would end the limitation of 35 submissions. Trouble is, Democrats hold the cards in the legislature and governor Gavin Newsom budgeted $20 million to enforce AB 5, hardly the Democrats’ only assault on the U.S. Constitution.
The draconian gun laws Democrats passed in 2016 now requires background checks to buy ammunition and many law-abiding gun owners have been denied. This infringes their Second Amendment rights and leaves the people more vulnerable to violent criminals. The state’s so-called “red flag” laws allow seizure of firearms from virtually anyone the government deems to be a threat.
As National Socialist Germany confirms, governments that disarm the people intend to harm the people. The same goes for governments that deprive people of their right to earn a living. That’s the objective of AB 5, already taking a toll, and those fighting back face new obstacles.
Californians have achieved reforms through ballot initiatives such as the 1996 Proposition 209, which barred racial and ethnic preferences in state employment, education and contracting. Trouble is, more than 10 million illegals now reside in California, approximately one fourth of the state population.
Democrats give them a host of taxpayer funded benefits, including health care, and sanctuary laws protect the false-documented foreign nationals from deportation. In return, the illegals serve Democrats as their imported electoral college and state officials refuse to participate in probes of voter fraud.
That tilts the field against the freelancers, and with federal judges proving unreliable allies, it will all come down to resistance. Tuesday’s rally was a good sign that California’s free-speech movement is alive and well. National Democrats, meanwhile, seem to be on the same page with their California counterparts.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg News, recently opened a campaign headquarters in Los Angeles, where he announced, “I think that California can serve as a great example for the rest of this country.” No word from the billionaire Democrat about the nation’s highest income and sales taxes, fathomless pension debt, and the excrement piling up in the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
On the other hand, California helpfully previews what the nation might look like with a Democrat in the White House. Democrats are still trying to remove the current occupant through impeachment, and the election takes place on November 3. As President Trump likes to say, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.