California’s AB 5 has taken another life: The new law has now killed off the 40-year old Lake Tahoe Music Festival.
“After 40+ years of classical music concerts offered outside with family and friends, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival will call a wrap to our summer festival with two performances in August of 2020,” the official festival website says. The Festival also posted the announcement on their Facebook page.
Assembly Bill 5 by former labor leader Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has already significantly limited Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. It was revealed during Senate debate in September that the AFL-CIO wrote AB 5.
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that AB 5 has already affected more than 1 million independent contractor and freelance working Californians.
Gonzalez can now add one more casualty to the growing list of 300+ industries impacted by the new law.
The Lake Tahoe Music Festival explained their decision:
New CA employment law AB-5 requirements add to the challenge of meeting our financial goals and create the final stressor on our small non-profit organization. For several years we have experienced the same slowly eroding philanthropic support of cultural life faced by other small arts organizations in our state. We now join many who also face increased uncertainty regarding employment costs and infrastructure needs associated with AB-5. So we will bring our festival to a close with pride in our long-time contribution to community life in North Tahoe and Truckee.
How is this “protecting” workers?
The new law, effective January 1, 2020, was passed under the guise of protecting “misclassified” employees. Instead, the law has caused thousands of freelance journalists, musicians, actors, Uber and Lyft drivers, and millions of gig workers, to suddenly find themselves out of work.
Gonzalez and Democrats who supported AB 5 say the “unintended” consequences of the law now need legislative fixes. But that’s bunk. California Globe attended the legislative committee hearings on AB 5, and witnessed how lawmakers were warned over and over by hundreds of freelance and independent contractors of the consequences.
But California’s Democrats’ devotion to Big Labor Unions always wins.
While Gonzalez has finally reluctantly acknowledged that freelance journalists and photographers will get an exemption from AB 5 and its randomly chosen 35 freelance articles per year, there are now more than 30 bills in the Legislature changing or removing aspects of the law — at what cost? This was totally unnecessary.
Most recently, AB 1850, authored by AB 5 backer Assemblywoman Gonzalez, would exempt freelance and independent contractor writers and photographers and remove the controversial ’35 content submissions a year’ rule, California Globe reported. Assemblywoman Gonzalez and other lawmakers had been considering such changes since December of last year, before AB 5 was even law. So they knew this was a disaster-in-waiting.
Thursday morning, the the California Assembly rejected a motion by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) to suspend AB 5 while corrective legislation is under consideration. Kiley’s Assembly Bill 1928 is an urgency measure to repeal AB 5 and would return the legal standard for independent contracting to what it was for decades before AB 5 and the Dynamex decision. Kiley proposed the Legislature suspend those recent changes pending further legislative consideration, but his bill was voted down by Democrats.