As Covid Wreaks Economic Havoc, OC Supervisor Michelle Steel and State Senator John Moorlach Call on Governor to Suspend AB 5

As thousands lose their jobs and hospitals remain short-staffed, two policy leaders are demanding relief from AB5

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Since the passage of AB5, California’s controversial anti-freelancer law, there has been a loud outcry from Californians across party lines, many of whom lost their livelihoods and wages.

Despite the economic devastation that the law has caused, the bill’s author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), have refused to compromise and table the law until a less harmful version can be redrawn.

However, due to both the economic and healthcare woes brought on by Coronavirus, a new string of calls to suspend AB5 have come from Orange County’s policy leaders.

This perfect storm has been brought about by the thousands of of people losing their jobs and hospitals left short-staffed due to AB5 gutting of contract healthcare workers like physicians assistants, nurses, nurse anesthetists, and respiratory therapists.

In the last few weeks, State Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel have both stepped up and requested that Governor Newsom suspend the controversial law in the wake of Coronavirus.

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel

“Now is the time to give Californians as many employment opportunities as possible, and that means not burdening them with unnecessary legal restraints like AB5,” Steel said. “As our communities rally together to get through this pandemic, job restrictions should not add to our list of worries which is why I am urging Governor Newsom to suspend AB5 during this period with so many jobs on the line.”

Earlier this month, State Senator John Moorlach, on the heels of a sobering California unemployment report issued a formal appeal to immediately suspend the controversial labor law.

State Senator John Moorlach

“Rarely has a democratically-elected government enacted such an extreme and repressive law as AB 5. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we must immediately repeal this bad law so that all Californians are free to work and earn a living.”

“There is a sense that this crisis may fundamentally change how people work, yet AB 5 prohibits independent contractors – the very people who, ironically, generally work from their homes to earn a living,” said Moorlach. “It was a bad idea to take away people’s livelihoods when the economy was strong, and it’s a devastatingly bad idea to continue enforcing this law in the middle of a national health and economic crisis.”

“Governor, it’s time to give California families an early release from AB 5.”

As calls grow louder from policy makers to suspend AB5 not all elected leaders are following suit.

Freshman Orange County Congressman Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) is currently supporting a federal, nationwide version of AB5 in the House of Representatives, HR 2474. [See full bill text HERE.]

“It’s troubling that while Californians struggle with finding work because of AB5, Harley Rouda is advocating for a federal version of this legislation,” Steel said.

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