Californian independent contractors and freelancers got quite a shock Thursday evening when a state senator compared lost jobs to “lollipops.”
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson represents the 19th District in western Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. In a Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement meeting officials heard arguments for and against pushing forward SB 806 and SB990. The bills — put forth by Republican senators John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) — aimed to immediately suspend and amend the disastrous AB5 legislation that killed independent contracting/freelance jobs across the state. Moorlach and Grove have been two politicians at the forefront of pushing back against the behemoth job-killer, alongside other Republicans in the assembly, like Kevin Kiley (R-06). Even before the coronavirus caused state leaders to close businesses and end millions of jobs, hundreds of thousands of jobs across over 150 job designations had been lost overnight to the bill meant to only affect Uber and Lyft. The state was already facing massive unemployment and the bill’s author, Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), has been under fire ever since.
Like Gonzalez, Senator Jackson has been a voice for unions in the legislature, so it is no surprise she also has supported AB5 enthusiastically. What has been a surprise is how cruel and dismissive elected representatives like Gonzalez and Jackson have been as tens of thousands of independently employed artists, interpreters, dancers, translators and more have come forward to beg for a dismissal or at least a suspension of the law at least until the legislature fixes the issues and finishes adding the dozens of currently proposed amendments.
Jackson’s comments came following the public comments portion of the meeting, and the level of dismissiveness of the plight of thousands of honest, hard-working, self-employed Californians was shocking.
“I appreciate that some independent contractors are upset. AB5 took away their lollipop.”
A sitting California senator referring to jobs as “lollipops” did not sit right with many folks on Twitter, including this opinion journalist.
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) May 15, 2020
— Democrats against AB5 (@against_ab5) May 15, 2020
Take away my lollipop? I am a lifelong Dem & 4th-generation Californian whose decades-long career was destroyed by #AB5. How dare you trivialize the impact of poorly written legislation on hardworking Californians. @CA_Dem #RepealAB5
— Team Pajamas 24/7 (@kfairwrites) May 15, 2020
Quick note. Most ICs are women: we are stay-at-home moms, caregivers, people with chronic conditions & disabilities, etc who need the flexibility of being a freelancer.
By protecting #AB5 you are leaving many women with nothing during a pandemic.
She is one of us.#repealAB5 pic.twitter.com/sDuUR56ngc
— Gloria M. Rivera (@BlueUrpi) May 15, 2020
— Andi *Lollipop* HK (@AndiHK) May 15, 2020
I thought no politician could be as clueless, tone-deaf & dismissive of her constituents as @LorenaAD80, but @SenHannahBeth gives her a run for her money. Today she voted w/ the Teamsters against #SB806 while characterizing the wish to work independently as infantile. #RepealAB5 pic.twitter.com/V8xOHSn721
— Lisa Rothstein – Brand Storyteller, Cartoonist (@davincidiva) May 14, 2020
I’m latino, gay, and a dem. I am a musician and Elem after School music teacher. #AB5 has made my biz hurt so bad b4 virus. I’m so disappointed to hear you say we lost our lollipop. Give me an chance to inform you of what we do for the community. We are good people @SenHannahBeth
— Victor J. Cervantes (@InspireMuse) May 15, 2020
It is shameful that @SenHannahBeth of the retirement villa of Santa Barbara, CA thinks that ICs and freelancers are children who are mad that their "lollipop" was taken away. We are PROFESSIONAL ADULTS. We used to get paid well for what we do before #AB5. 1/
— Jennifer Oliver O'Connell (@asthegirlturns) May 14, 2020
The two bills were blocked by a straight-down-the-line partisan vote.
The backlash to AB5 has been fascinating to watch and be a part of. There is very rarely an issue in this state that unites Democrats and Republicans but a bill that kills “side hustles” in the side hustle capital of America has done just that — it has united the Left and the Right in an unprecedented way. In fact, here is a video created by affected contractors after the historic win of Mike Garcia in CA-25. It explains very well how many lifelong Democrat voters have been reconsidering their votes for November, even if just for that one election. California may very well see a massive voter rebellion in November.
Senator Jackson’s office has not yet responded to requests for comment from RedState.