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CA Freelancers May Get A Break After Tough AB 5 Limits

(Stock photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash)
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The California legislator behind the state’s new gig worker law now says she plans to eliminate the bill’s controversial submissions cap for freelance writers and photographers.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez authored AB 5, a law passed last year that codified a 2018 California Supreme Court ruling making it harder for companies to classify their workers as independent contractors, rather than employees.

Under one of the law's provisions, freelance writers and photographers can only deliver 35 submissions each year to any media outlet before that outlet has to hire them as an employee.

Freelancers in California have lost work as a result, and they’ve been lobbying Gonzalez to change the law.

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On Thursday, Gonzalez said on Twitter that she plans to introduce a number of legislative changes to AB 5 in coming weeks, including a replacement for the freelancer submission cap.

San Diego-based freelancer Randy Dotinga, a board member with the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), said, “We’re glad to hear that Gonzalez is willing to revise the bill to protect freelance journalists from the devastation we’ve suffered this year. We look forward to seeing the exact bill language.”

The ASJA has filed a lawsuit against the state over AB 5, arguing it violates freelancers’ constitutional right to freedom of the press. A federal court hearing is scheduled for March 9.