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Senate Democrats Block Efforts to Protect Independent Contractors

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SACRAMENTO – Tonight, members of the California Senate Republican Caucus voted against Assembly Bill 5 which would threaten the livelihoods of many California independent contractors. AB 5 undercuts workers’ freedom in many industries to choose independent work and threatens their employment status. The author of AB 5 offered carve-outs for several well-connected professions which favored certain industries over others. 

On the Senate floor tonight, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) introduced an amendment to AB 5 which would have conformed California’s test for employment with an existing federal standard and offered parity across the board. Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) presented a separate amendment that would have delayed the implementation of the Dynamex decision for two years.

In addition, other members of the California Senate Republican Caucus offered amendments to AB 5 that would provide exemptions for the following industries: forestry, health care professionals, newspapers carriers and distributors, physical therapists, interpreters, translators, single truck owner-operators, non-profits, franchisors, franchisees, and design who were excluded from AB 5. Senate Democrats blocked these efforts to protect the employment status of independent contractors.

“Over 2 million Californians choose to work as independent contractors and AB 5 only protects certain industries. I am proud to have stood with my Republican colleagues in offering better solutions to protect workers in industries such as healthcare, transportation, and newspapers carriers and distributors. If the governor truly believes in supporting a California for all, then he needs to do the right thing and veto AB 5.” – Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)
“I opposed Assembly Bill 5 because it undermines the principle of equal treatment under the law and deprives many Californians the right to be their own bosses. The bill’s Christmas tree of exemptions is a prime example of the Legislature picking winners and losers. Why should some people enjoy an exemption while others such as newspaper carriers and language interpreters and translators do not?” –Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)
“Economic and technological advances have spurred the creation of the gig economy giving economic opportunities to folks outside of the traditional workplace. AB 5 will not only limit an individual’s ability for flexible employment, but will destroy entire industries across California. Independent contractors and small businesses are the backbone of a thriving California economy.” – Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno)This bill has morphed into an unworkable mishmash of industry exceptions, which ultimately picks winners and losers based on who is politically-connected. A simple test should be, if you have a business license, you’re a businessperson!” – Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber)
“AB 5 exemplifies everything that is wrong with one party rule in Sacramento – those with influence (i.e. union leaders) and those with money (i.e. campaign donors) get their way.  Everyone else, particularly hard-working California families, are left out.  In the Capitol absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee)
“AB 5 employs a one-size-fits-all approach that won’t work for Californians. We’re talking about college students, single moms, and many other hard working individuals who need flexibility to pay their bills. The majority party is once again taking away choice from the very people they were elected to serve.” – Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)
“By choosing to exempt some industries, but not others, Democratic legislators and unions are picking winners and losers through a process that gives the distinct appearance of impropriety and is another indication that Sacramento Democrats continue to embrace a slide toward socialism.” – Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga)
“California has become a hostile place to do business. Tonight, the Legislature turned this hostility toward millions of independent contractors. With the exception of a few professions, Assembly Bill 5 will restrict a worker’s ability to work flexible hours that fit their needs.” – Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama)
“Make no mistake, AB 5 is an abuse of the legislative process by big labor union bosses who want to force companies who give opportunities to independent contractors into making their contractors join the union. As amended, AB 5 picks winner and losers, and the big losers will be the people of California who chose to work independently and pursue their own dreams and will be prevented from doing so by this onerous legislation.” -Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County)
“A legitimate owner operator trucker is the quintessential independent contractor. This classic ‘little guy’ has put his or her heart, soul and personal resources into building an independent business. By excluding these truckers from AB 5, the Legislature has capriciously eliminated their livelihood.” – Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita)


Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove represents California’s 16th Senate District which encompasses large portions of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino counties and including the cities of Bakersfield, Barstow, California City, Exeter, Frazier Mountain, Joshua Tree, Mojave, Needles, Ridgecrest, Rosamond, Taft, Tehachapi, Twentynine Palms, Tulare, Visalia, Yucca Valley and portions of the Kern River Valley. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
For press inquiries or questions, please contact Jacqui Nguyen, press secretary for the Senate Republican Caucus, at 858.999.7706.

The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.

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Government & Regulations

Council Member Wapner Elected to the National League of Cities Board of Directors

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December 3rd, 2020 — Ontario Council Member Alan Wapner recently received a Presidential appointment to become Chairman of the National League of Cities (NLC) Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy Committee. As Chair of this committee, Wapner also was elected to NLC board of directors by NLC’s membership at the 2020 Virtual City Summit.

Wapner was elected to a one-year term and will provide strategic direction and guidance for NLC’s federal advocacy, governance and membership activities. NLC is the largest and most representative organization for cities, their elected leaders and municipal staff, and advocates for city priorities in Washington by building strong federal-local partnerships.

Said Wapner, “I’m honored and appreciative of this opportunity. Serving on the Board of the NLC provides me the opportunity to represent Ontario on the National level and lead the federal discussion of public safety. This will showcase our city in an organization that represents 49 states and over 19,000 cities, towns, villages and tribal nations. I look forward to serving in this role, and bringing recognition to our state, region and the City of Ontario.”

As a member of the board, Wapner will meet in March, June and November to guide NLC’s strategic direction. Board members are selected by a 15-member nominating committee and are confirmed by a vote from NLC’s membership at the organization’s annual business meeting.

“The National League of Cities board of directors serves a critical role in guiding our organization’s priorities and policies,” said NLC President Kathy Maness, council member of Lexington, S.C. “NLC’s board of directors is made up of a group of amazing leaders, and I look forward to working with them during an important time for the nation’s cities.”

Wapner is a long-time Ontario City Council member and President of the Ontario International Airport board of commissioners. He is Past President of the Southern California Association of Governments, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and the San Bernardino Council of Governments, and is Past Chair of the Omnitrans board of directors.

More than 1,000 mayors, council members and other delegates from nearly every state and the District of Columbia convened virtually for City Summit. Local leaders are on the frontline of the nation’s most pressing challenges and pioneering innovative solutions that move our cities, towns, and villages forward.

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