Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Uber, Lyft form alliance against Dynamex bill + Students rally for gun reform + Pride flag flew in 1990

Ashely Hutton says working as an independent contractor allows her flexible time with daughters Piper, 7, left, and Stella, 5, right. A recent California Supreme Court ruling changed the rules for contractors.
Ashely Hutton says working as an independent contractor allows her flexible time with daughters Piper, 7, left, and Stella, 5, right. A recent California Supreme Court ruling changed the rules for contractors. rbyer@sacbee.com

Good morning, California! Thanks for starting your day with me. It’s Juneteenth, a day to honor the emancipation of Texas slaves that were kept in bondage until 1865, despite President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

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COMPETITORS BECOME COLLABORATORS

When it comes to the gig economy, Uber and Lyft are on the same side. The ride-sharing companies are working together to defeat a bill that would reclassify workers according to a three-factor test outlined in the California Supreme Court’s 2018 Dynamex decision.

Assembly Bill 5 would codify that test, putting in to California law the “ABC” factors that qualify an independent contractor as an employee unless:

A) The person is free from control and direction of the hiring entity

B) The person performs work outside the entity’s business

C) The person is engaged in another trade, occupation or business of the same nature

Executives at the two companies wrote an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle last week that detailed their concerns, which focus on allowing drivers the flexibility to work whenever and wherever they want.

The California Chamber of Commerce underscored that argument in a post yesterday, and called on California lawmakers to reconsider the push to classify drivers as employees.

“Drivers have the unique flexibility of being their own boss and can make their own choices about if, when and where to work,” wrote Jennifer Barrera, the executive vice president of policy and strategy at the chamber. “This independence would simply cease to exist if drivers were reclassified as employees.”

Barrera also wrote that Uber and Lyft workers can use the apps to supplement another income, but would be unable to do so if the bill becomes law. That could leave the state vulnerable to an “immense gap in the transportation millions of California consumers rely on everyday.”

But Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the bill’s author and a longtime advocate for labor rights, maintains that a measure like AB 5 is the right option for protecting workers.

““The misclassification of workers is a clear detriment to working families, local businesses, and the state,” she wrote in a bill analysis. “This harmful practice undermines the hard-fought laws passed by the Legislature that have historically positioned California as a national leader in creating the strongest worker protections in the country.”

KIDS THESE DAYS

March for Our Lives California and Team ENOUGH student advocates are lobbying in Sacramento today in support of state gun reform bill. The legislative package they’re supporting includes:

  • Assembly Bill 61: Expands the list of persons who may file a gun violence restraining order to include employers, coworkers, and school staff members.
  • Assembly Bill 1603: Codifies the California Violence Intervention and Prevention program, which provides state-funded grants to help cities kick start violence prevention efforts.
  • Senate Bill 61: Builds on existing law that prohibits purchasing more than one handgun a month to all firearms, including long guns.
  • Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8: Reduces the minimum voting age to 17.

“We aren’t sitting down, and we aren’t being quiet. We’re fighting for our lives,” said Adam Friedman, executive council member and national lobbying coordinator with Team ENOUGH. “When we join our voices together, we’ve shown what an incredible impact we can have. Our elected officials in California heard us loud and clear today, and they can expect to see us here and around the country in the future, because we aren’t going anywhere.”

The lobbying is scheduled to being at 8:30 a.m., with a press conference to begin at 8:45 a.m.

NOT SO FAST

The Pride flag is flying atop the Capitol dome for the “first time in state history,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday. But you know the old saying, “History repeats itself?”

The Bay Area Reporter confirmed in a post yesterday that the flag flew for the first time on Coming Out Day in 1990. It was the front page of the paper on Oct. 11 of that year, the publication wrote. The Sacramento Bee covered the earlier flag-raising, too, with a news story that focused on how the rainbow flag drew national attention to the Capitol.

The rainbow flag was supposed to fly for a week, but former Gov. George Deukmejian ordered it taken down just hours after it was raised, according to the article.

Michael Bosia, a Vermont political science professor and former legislative staffer behind the original flying called attention to the matter in a Twitter post saying “We were just #straighterased by the CA gov.”

“History has been affirmed,” Bosia tweeted once the Reporter ran the story.

The Bee also reported on the error, and Newsom issued a statement saying the original flying and controversy on the matter “deserves to be called out and recognized.”

“Almost 30 years later, our state is proud to have moved beyond the days when homophobia and bigotry were enshrined in our state body politic,” Newsom said. “These legislators and activists who first hoisted the flag above the Capitol dome are part of that story.”

TWEET OF THE DAY

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  • Gavin Newsom apologizes on California’s behalf to native tribes for slaughter of ancestors by Sophia Bollag
  • Gavin Newsom agrees to sign California bill restricting vaccine exemptions by Hannah Wiley
Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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