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AB5 protection included in new California budget

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — As California leaders prepare to make billions in budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year, Governor Gavin Newsom is setting aside millions for a new controversial state law.

Newsom plans to put that money toward AB5 enforcement, the law that required a number of independent contractors to be redefined as employees.

Nearly nine months since its passage, the drama is nowhere near over with California’s AB5.

The law redefining many independent contractors as employees is at the center of numerous repeal efforts.

Regardless, Governor Newsom proposed to put more than $20 million toward its enforcement, with $17.5 million going to the state department of industrial relations, $3.4 million to the economic development department and $750,000 to the department of justice.

“It’s sick to be perfectly honest with you,” Assemblyman Kevin Kiley said.

Several Republican lawmakers outraged by the appropriation. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is leading a legislative effort to repeal AB5.

“The governor tells us this budget is stripped down to our most essential priorities, and apparently that includes $20 million to target independent contractors, to harass small businesses and fines, penalties and lawsuits at a time when many are struggling to remain in business at all,” Kiley said.

But Newsom and many democrats continue to defend the law, which aims to protect workers from misclassification.

AB5 faces a November ballot initiative to exempt a number of gig companies like Uber and Lyft. California’s attorney general sued the companies last week, the governor recently weighed in.

“Letter of the law has to be applied, we want to be cooperative and collaborative,” Newsom said. “But we as a state have a responsibility to do what we said we were going to do.”

With exactly a month left to work out the budget facing a $54 billion deficit, Newsom spent Friday  meeting with legislative leaders.

Some lawmakers prepared to pushback on AB5 funding.

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