New state law expected to impact California’s workforce causes controversy

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SACRAMENTO (KRON) — A new state law that’s expected to make a major impact on California’s workforce is causing some controversy.

Now a week before it goes into effect, some lawmakers are trying to get it repealed.

“Our goal is to undo the harm.”

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez said she and fellow Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley are set to file a bill this year that would void the new law commonly called “AB5”.

The new law will redefine workers that would classicly be considered independent contractors as employees across several industries.

“What we are doing is introducing a constitutional amendment, that way we can clearly define what an independent contractor is,” Melendez said. “And if anyone wanted to make any changes to that, they would have to do another constitutional amendment, that way there isn’t this tinkering back and forth.”

Melendez’s proposal comes as the state faces multiple lawsuits for enacting AB5, from groups including free lancers and truckers — several claim their business or job was lost or is in jeopardy because of it.

Leaders of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are putting up millions for a 2020 ballot initiative to let voters decide if AB5 should apply to their workers.

Supporters of the law say employers misclassify workers as independent contractors to bypass wage and benefit protections.

The bill’s author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, tweeted Tuesday in part, “Worker misclassification hurts everyone. We will continue to clarify this law, but rest assured, it won’t be repealed.”

“We want people to be treated fairly, and be protected under the law,” Melendez said. “But this bill went way, way too far, and people are being harmed by this.”

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