California Governor Gavin Newsom (file photo)

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom signed law last Friday that provides exemptions for two dozen other professions from the controversial Labor Act AB5, which came into effect last January.

AB5 has tightened the definition of “independent contractor” and requires employers doing business in the Golden State to minimize the amount of work that can be done by freelancers and contractors without qualifying as full-time employees and entitled to benefits .

Newsom signed AB 2257, written by congregation member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) who sponsored the bill and was the main sponsor of AB5.

The new measure, which went into effect immediately, takes the strain off workers in the state's gig economy who provide services such as freelance writers and still photographers, photojournalists and freelance editors, and newspaper cartoonists. AB 2257 exempts various artists and musicians in the insurance and real estate industries in addition to some participants.

A Gonzalez spokesman told the Los Angeles Blade that there are safeguards in the law to ensure companies don't replace current employees. The spokesman also noted that Gonzalez said AB2257 "strikes a balance and continues to protect workers from misclassification that had not been verified under the old rules for decades".

Targeted primarily at hail shipping companies Uber and Lyft, AB5 had inadvertently hit other businesses in the gig economy that opponents labeled as permanently crippling to the state's economy by throttling traditional freelance jobs that didn't require a more traditional business model is employer-employee relations. Numerous contractors announced to the blade that they were being put into a legal definition that could end a living.

The battle lines were drawn a year ago when the California General Assembly passed AB5, which was worked out with the specially targeted ridesharing companies, which essentially put restrictions on the grading of their workers by companies in the state. The law required both Uber and Lyft to classify their workforce of independent drivers as full-time, and also required companies to provide health care and benefits and pay additional taxes to all drivers in their system.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and city attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco filed a lawsuit against California Technologies against Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., CGC-20-584402, for compelling Uber and Lyft to comply. San Francisco Supreme Court Justice Ethan P. Schulman issued an injunction on August 10, but granted a grace period that gave companies ten days. Thereafter, a state appeals court ruled that companies could maintain their business models while challenging a judge's order to comply with a state labor law.

There are new ones Exceptions also included for Musicians with single engagement live performances, this one people involved in sound recordings or musical compositions, insurance inspectors, real estate appraisers and inspectors, prefabricated house sellers, youth sports coaches, individuals engaged by an international exchange visitor program, and competition judges. This also excludes advice or animal services, as well as landscape architects and professional foresters.

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