Research Outline

California's AB5 Law Research


To have evidence to back up the supposition that California’s AB5 law is absurd.

Early Findings

  • There are many people that think California's AB5 law is not only absurd, but that it is insane. As a recap, the AB5 law codifies a 2018 California Supreme Court decision that introduced strict new rules governing the legal definition of independent contracting in the state. In short, more companies will be pushed to classify their workers as employees. The law was written by progressive Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego. It was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 18, 2019, and took effect in California on January 1st, 2020.
  • The law, AB5, which was intended to combat freelance workers being taken advantage of by the “gig economy,” has already caused hundreds of California writers to completely lose their jobs, and the resulting fallout from the easily-foreseen unintended consequences of this regulation has only just begun.
  • While there has been a huge backlash against the law (including a class-action lawsuit), and it is presumed that it will eventually be amended for 2021 to reduce at least some of its more overt insanity, Gonzalez is still defending her grotesque governmental overreach, even resorting to profanity on Twitter while openly insulting those who have the audacity to think freelance work actually fits well into their current lifestyles.
  • The irony of a progressive Democrat creating a law which, as one tiny impact of thousands, will help mute a strong, national, anti-Trump voice in what will likely be a very close election year, is hard not to miss. In fact, it is hard to think of anything which better encapsulates the ridiculousness of what California’s one-party progressive rule has routinely triggered than this entire fiasco (Gonzalez, who represents an overwhelming Democratic district along the border, has zero fear of being ousted at the ballot box over this outrage she has created).
  • Vox Media announced it will not be renewing the contracts of around 200 journalists who write for the sports website SB Nation. Instead, the company will replace many of those contractors with 20 part-time and full-time employees. Rev, which provides transcription services, and Scripted, which connects freelance copywriters with people who need their services, also notified their California contractors that they would no longer give them work.
  • According to Alisha Grauso, an entertainment journalist and the co-leader of California Freelance Writers United (CAFWU), " we are the group fighting against AB5, and it is composed primarily of the people that Gonzalez claimed the bill would help." It is currently 72.3 percent women, which, according to Grauso, is no coincidence. "The reality is it still falls primarily on women to be the caretakers and caregivers of their families, and freelancing allows women to be stay-at-home mothers or to care for an aging parent," Grauso notes. "Being made employees kills their flexibility and ability to be home when needed. I cannot stress enough how anti-women this bill is."
  • According to the most recent Census data, only 8.3 percent of workers have more than one job; of that number, only 6.9 percent have more than two jobs. But Democrat Assemblywoman Gonzalez doesn't seem to care about the data, and has made it pretty clear that she does not want to listen to her constituents.
  • Astonishingly, a recent poll from Emerson showed Californians supported the bill nearly 2-to-1, which begs whether the poll is flawed, whether the people polled really understood what they were supporting, or whether the individuals polled had never worked in the gig economy.
  • "When AB5 goes into effect on Jan. 1, the very flexibility that appealed to many ride-share drivers will be gone and the companies’ business models gutted. But who funded the political campaigns of the Sacramento lawmakers who drafted the bill and the governor who signed it into law? The very companies now choking on AB5. Funny, am I right?!"
  • "And while we’re talking about irony and AB5: Vox Media, the New York-based online publisher that depends upon freelance writers and photographers, has axed its California freelancers because of AB5. Is it ironic that the bill that was supposed to defend vulnerable workers defended them into the unemployment queue. It is."
  • But it’s also fun because, as Madeline Fry writes, “In September, when the California Senate passed a bill that capped freelancers at 35 paid pieces per year, Vox said the regulation would give workers ‘basic labor protections.’” Fry’s conclusion: “More government regulation is always great in theory. Then it gets applied to you.”
  • Politicians can’t leave well enough alone. By forcing the reclassification of independent contractors, sector companies must now incur costs associated with employer-employee relationships.
  • Don’t believe that this is just a crazy California issue. New Jersey introduced bills that virtually mimic AB5. Additionally, New York, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are actively considering imposing similar laws.

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • Our initial hour of research focused on finding qualitative evidence surrounding the absurdity of the AB5 bill in California. There is plenty of opinions about this, and most are focused on the insanity of it all. While there is quantitative data on this, none of that surrounds the absurdness as that is a subjective opinion, and will any findings we provide will therefore consist of opinion and sometimes even a political lens, as many people point out the insanity of the left (Democrats).
  • Please select one or more of the options provided in the proposed scoping section below.