Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has taken to Twitter to defend Assembly Bill 5, the law she wrote that lays out when businesses must workers benefits such as sick leave and minimum wage.
As AB 5’s sponsor, Gonzalez has taken a lot of heat from people afraid that the law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, could affect their livelihood.
One person asked Gonzalez to address the concerns that freelance workers have that there would be “a shortage of good jobs” in California once the law goes into effect, as employers look for workers in other states. Vox media, publisher of the sports blog network SB Nation, has announced that it would break with its California freelancers because of the law.
“These were never good jobs. No one has ever suggested that, even freelancers. We will continue to work on this next year,” Gonzalez wrote in response.
“Wow, you really suck at this,” another person wrote in response.
“Thank you,” Gonzalez replied.
Gonzalez got into a testy exchange with one Twitter user, who wrote that people won’t be able to have “2-3 side hustles” anymore because of AB 5.
“They shouldn’t f——- have to. And until you or anyone else that wants to b—— about AB5 puts out cognizant policy proposals to curb this chaos, you can keep your criticism anonymous. Good God,” Gonzalez wrote, later adding that the account she was responding to belongs to somebody who works in the Legislature.
Gonzalez has invited people to offer suggestions for changing the law.
“Advocate for ongoing work,” she wrote. “But stop saying this is a bad bill. It’s not. It’s a great structural reform we’ve needed since the 1940s. I’m not going to repeal it. We will continue to refine it. But educate yourself”
Gonzalez wrote that she “appreciate(s) Twitter engagement” but that she can’t answer every question or direct message.
“Plus, tone is tough on Twitter,” she wrote. “I try to take as many meetings as possible on legislation. Please call (916) 319-2080 to schedule. It can take a while to get everyone in, but we try.”
AD-1 GETS AN NPP CHALLENGER
A No Party Preference candidate for Assembly District 1 is throwing six figures into his political campaign to unseat Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, in November.
Dr. Paul Dhanuka, a Redding surgeon and Indian immigrant who owns several urgent care centers in the area, has already put $100,000 into his campaign, and he’s prepared to go up to “the mid-high six figures,” according to John Thomas, his chief strategist.
“He is mostly self-funding,” Thomas said, adding that Dhanuka has signed a pledge not to spend or raise more than $600,000. “He’s going to be spending quite a bit, so we’ll have ample resources to spread his message.”
Thomas said that because Dhanuka is self-funding, he’s “beholden to no one. Not political bosses and not political donors.”
It may not surprise anyone to know that Dhanuka, a doctor, is passionate about health care issues, and Thomas said that would be a top priority for him if he gets to Sacramento.
Thomas said that red tape is “strangling job creators” and Dhanuka wants to give them incentives “to grow health care services in the region,” where primary care doctors are in short supply.
Dhanuka thinks that AB 5 is “absolutely disastrous” and he would work to undo the law, Thomas said. Other top issues for Dhanuka include homelessness and wildfire prevention.
But what happens if he wins and gets to Sacramento?
Thomas said Dhanuka hasn’t decided which party, if any, he would caucus with, but that he is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans.
“He doesn’t care what party affiliation you have,” Thomas said.
THE STATE STEPS IN TO HELP WITH AB 5
The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency has released a resource to help people comply with AB 5.
The site, Labor.ca.gov/EmploymentStatus, “is a one-stop shop for online resources for workers and employers, and the Labor Agency and its departments,” according to a statement released by the agency.
“Misclassification, or labeling a worker as an independent contractor when they should be an employee, undermines businesses who play by the rules and basic worker protections like minimum wage, paid sick days, and the safety of workplaces,” said Secretary Julie Su. “This website is meant to be a resource for California’s workers and employers to ensure a smooth implementation of the law.”
The website includes information on the “ABC test” to determine if California workers are employees or independent contractors for purposes of the state’s labor code, as well as a “Frequently Asked Questions” section.
“Employers who visit the portal will be able to find information to assist them in determining the employment status of their workers and understanding their legal obligations as employers, including information regarding workplace health and safety laws, wage and hour laws, workers’ compensation obligations, and payroll tax requirements,” according to the statement.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Last night, I completely broke down over this. I’ve never felt so powerless in my own ability to provide for my family. Not even when I’ve been laid off.” — San Diego freelance journalist Whitson Gordon, via Twitter. Gordon wrote that AB 5 is hurting his career and may force him to leave the state.
By Andrew Sheeler, The Sacramento Bee