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CNPA in play on last night of legislative session

After receiving its last set of amendments last Friday, Sept. 6, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s (D-San Diego) AB 5 was approved by the Senate on Tuesday and was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday after final approval by the Assembly. The last set of amendments exempting more workers from the Dynamex ABC test included an exemption for up to 35 submissions for freelancers but did not include help for newspaper carriers and scores of other industries and workers clamoring for an exemption.

Preceding and during the final votes on AB 5 was a flurry of direct advocacy by members and CNPA staff, newspaper editorials, op/eds and CNPA advertisements published in newspapers members. All that and furious negotiations led by Senators Mike McGuire, Bob Hertzberg, Holly Mitchell and President pro Tem Toni Atkins convinced Gonzalez to amend another of her bills in the Senate — AB 170 — to give newspapers and newspaper carriers a 1-year delay from the ABC test. AB 170, if approved and signed, will analyze newspaper/carrier relationships through the Borello standard for the calendar year beginning January 1, 2020.

AB 170 was heard by the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee at 9 a.m. Thursday and after one of the more interesting hearings your staff has witnessed, was approved by the committee on a 5-0 vote. In the introduction of her bill, Gonzalez said she “vehemently opposed” it.

AB 170 still has a tough row to hoe to get to the governor. Here is its likely path: Because of the Prop. 54 (2016) requirement that bills and amendments must be in print and on line 72 hours before final action, AB 170 cannot be taken up by the Senate until the last night of session, this Friday, after 7:12 p.m., less than 5 hours until the legislature adjourns for the year.

If approved by the Senate Friday evening, the bill will be immediately transmitted to the Assembly. The Assembly will likely refer the bill to the Assembly Labor Committee to consider the Senate amendments, and that committee will at some point be convened “off the floor.” If approved, the bill will be placed on the Assembly Third Reading File, allowing it to be finally approved by the Assembly sometime before midnight.

What you can do: CNPA is developing an Assembly vote count for AB 170. It requests you to directly ask your Assembly member (or his or her staff) whether you can count on them to support newspapers and vote Aye on AB 170. Time is of the essence. Please let us know as quickly as you can which member (or staff) you talked to and their position: Support/Unsure/No Support.

This information will help staff to effectively lobby the Assembly and identify members that need additional contact. Please direct questions and feedback on AB 170 to jim@cnpa.com and tom@cnpa.com and look for future CNPA updates on this important issue. Finally, if you know that your representatives have helped CNPA, please thank them!

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