Media Moves

Newspaper carriers exempted from sweeping new California labor law

September 11, 2019

Posted by Yvonne Zacharias

With a deadline nearing, California lawmakers made a last-minute deal that would exempt newspaper carriers from a sweeping new law limiting the number of employees classified as independent contractors.

After two hours of debate Tuesday evening, state senators approved Assembly Bill 5 29-11 which would remake California employment practices. It aligns with a 2018 California Supreme Court ruling that significantly expanded the number of workers who must be provided benefits as business employees.

“Today we are determining the future of the California economy,” state Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) said in defence of the bill. “We can either choose to become complicit in the exploitation of hard-working Californians or we choose to rebuild the working and middle class, protect taxpayers and help responsible businesses thrive in the state.”

The exemption for newspaper carriers comes after intense lobbying by media industry leaders who argued that the measure would strike a major blow to the already beleaguered press.

The measure still requires passage in the state Assembly before the end of the week when the Legislature adjourns for the year. Gov. Gavin Newsom has endorsed the bill.


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