In this Aug. 22, 2018, photo, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, celebrates as the state Senate approves her forced arbitration bill in Sacramento, Calif. Her bill would bar employers from requiring forced arbitration agreements, which compel employees to settle workplace complaints instead of going to court, as a condition of employment. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
It’s estimated that more than a million Californians have seen their incomes substantially decrease or completely dry up as an “unintended consequence” of the enactment of AB5, the law that essentially took away an individual’s right to earn income as a freelancer/independent contractor.
Just two months after the new law went into effect, tens of thousands of freelancers who are losing their livelihoods are in open revolt against the law. These new activists have created websites and formed coalitions throughout the state to bring “AB5 Stories” to lawmakers, believing they’d surely take action if they knew how many people were being harmed.
What they’ve learned is that AB5 supporters simply don’t care who is hurt.
Freelancers have a couple of advocates in Sacramento, including Asm. Kevin Kiley. Kiley introduced a repeal bill, AB1928, which will be euthanized in committee since California’s Assembly Rules give the committee chair full discretion on whether a bill will ever have even a hearing. Knowing this, on Feb. 18 Kiley announced that on Feb. 27 he would move to suspend enforcement of AB5 on the Assembly Floor.
Details below on next Thursday's Assembly Floor Vote to suspend #AB5. There's simply no argument for continuing to enforce a law that everyone (including the author) agrees is causing big problems & needs major changes. #AB1928 pic.twitter.com/ASCMiczs78
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) February 18, 2020
In order to bring AB1928 directly to the floor, Kiley would have to first make a motion to suspend the rules and the Constitution so AB1928 could be considered. If that passed, there would be a vote to suspend enforcement of AB5 until appropriate legislation could be drafted, debated, and enacted. Kiley pointed out to his colleagues that there are 33 bills to “fix” AB5 pending in Sacramento at the moment, so it’s clear that the current law isn’t working. As he said, “there’s simply no argument for continuing to enforce a law that everyone agrees is causing big problems and needs major changes.”
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Kiley’s first motion – which needed a 2/3 majority to pass – was soundly defeated. Democrats allowed as many of their vulnerable members as they could to abstain while still soundly defeating Kiley’s first motion. The results are below:
My Assemblymember @AsmChristySmith voted no on suspending the rules to allow consideration of suspending enforcement of #AB5. She doesn't even want you to be heard. She wants you to suffer and like it. If you live in #CA25 be sure you DON'T vote for her on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/ZaFwKbqPRY
— Jennifer Van Laar (@jenvanlaar) February 27, 2020
The Sacramento Bee caught up with both Kiley and Gonzalez after the vote, and Gonzalez’s comments were completely on brand (condescending and ignorant):
He [Kiley] asked to suspend the constitution to bring up his bill, and obviously that’s not well thought through and not something we can do. He’s obviously engaged in political theater. Republicans have decided that this is a political issue for them, and as a result — it’s unfortunate. When we start doing things like that, the general public doesn’t understand the process and they lose confidence in it, and that’s what you see happens.
No, Lorena, we understand the process. The process normally takes place behind closed doors and involves “negotiations” that have no regard for the rights of hard-working Californians. We’re done with that, and done with your ignorant lege-splaning.
It’s important that we get this right. We’re working on our bill to further clarify AB5…we’re gonna continue to do the hard work necessary to get it right, and I hope that the Republicans come around to do policy and not political theater.
If it was so important for you to get it right and do the hard work necessary to get it right, you would have spent more time actually thinking through your bill.
Gonzalez, obviously a devotee of the saying that “if you tell a lie enough times, people believe it’s the truth,” then tried to pwn Kiley on Twitter.
Deje con las mentiras, @lorenasgonzalez. Stop with the lies. What @KevinKileyCA did was completely permissible. You are the one who doesn't care about the law; only about union $$. #pendejab5 #repealab5 #ab1928
— Shay D. (@ShaynaDickstein) February 27, 2020
The irony that just last year Kevin Kiley introduced a bill to require legislators to be trained on the California Constitution. And, today, made a motion that he didn’t realize suspended the Constitution. Let’s stop the political theater and instead work in real solutions.
Kiley was fuming, justifiably.
It’s [the vote] a stunning lack of basic human decency, and frankly, I’ve never been more ashamed of this legislative body.
We can continue to try to move this to the floor, if we want, every session of the Assembly moving forward. I’m gonna continue to call upon my colleagues to do the right thing, the decent thing…when we have a law that’s hurting people, then there’s no reason to continue to enforce it, at least during the next several months.
Video of Kiley and Gonzalez’s comments to the Sacramento Bee is embedded below. Watch, if you can stomach actually watching her voice her smug, uncaring, false sentiments.