Freelance Journalists Challenge California Law That Restricts Their Work

By Matthew Vadum at The Epoch Times

December 19, 2019

Freelance journalists filed suit this week against California in federal court in hopes of striking down an unusually restrictive and possibly unconstitutional state employment law that outlaws independent contracting with very narrow exceptions.

Layoffs blamed on the law, known as AB5, which was pushed by organized labor to crack down on the hard-to-unionize so-called gig economy represented by companies such as Uber and Lyft, have already been announced at media outlets across the United States.

After previously praising the legislation as “a victory for workers everywhere,” left-leaning Vox Media canceled the contracts of more than 200 freelancers working for its SB Nation sports platform and replaced them with 20 new part-time and full-time staffers, Reason reports. AB5 “makes it impossible for us to continue with our current California team site structure because it restricts contractors from producing more than 35 written content ‘submissions’ per year,” according to SB Nation’s John Ness.

Carveouts in the statute treat freelance journalists worse than other professions that engage in First Amendment-guaranteed speech, the plaintiffs in the new lawsuit say.

Read more at The Epoch Times