Newsom’s Freelancer Law an Assault on Press Freedom

For all of the fancy talk about supporting press freedoms, the Governor sure doesn’t seem to match those words with actions. Is anyone else tired of hearing stuffed suits like Newsom talk about press repression ‘in the age of Donald Trump’ yet reversing basic right to work freedoms? It is beyond tiring. Furthermore, it is very hypocritical.

The new legislation puts a major crimp in the ability for individuals to market their own work in the state of California. The Hollywood Reporter (of all places) reported on the changes.

Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 5 into law on September 18th. It will come into effect on January 1st. The bill includes a crackdown on the freedom of freelance workers to do their jobs. This includes drivers for Uber and Lyft. It includes writers. It includes people writing for newspapers or on the internet. According to the new law, California freelancers are capped at just 35 submissions a year per news source. As a result, it is now very difficult for writers to be able to keep working at the same pace that they did. Newsom signed the law proposed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.

Read the text of the law itself here.

Discriminatory and Out of Touch

The law itself heavily punishes part time workers that do not want to come into work every day– or perhaps can’t. Furthermore, the proposed law also harms non-white writers. As THR reported, while 77% of newsrooms are white, (compared to 66% of the population) 62% of freelancers are that race. Unfortunately, all of the well-meaning policy in the world won’t solve underlying problems. Even Assemblywoman Gonzalez agreed that her legislation is arbitrary. That is cold comfort to writers soon to be out of work. What a major shame. Furthermore, it’s another black mark on the reputation of California and business.

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