A major complaint among Californians affected by the state’s anti-freelancing law, AB5, is that the labor unions wrote it and essentially paid for its passage and that the purpose was to enrich unions by creating millions of new “employees” to “organize.”
The bill’s author, Asm. Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher has admitted that the California Labor Federation sponsored the bill but denies that the unions ensured its passage, saying that its purpose was to provide benefits and a guaranteed minimum wage.
Newsom had up to 30 days to sign AB-2257, the AB-5 walk back, so it’s significant that he signed it only three days after passage. And that the new law was deemed an “urgency statute” so that it take effect immediately.
There’s bad blood between San Francisco Democrats and Los Angeles/San Diego Democrats, and Gonzalez-Fletcher’s already made Gavin Newsom’s life more difficult this year by failing to negotiate clean-up provisions for AB-5, and by publicly battling with Elon Musk, a long-time friend of Newsom and major job creator in the state.
Entering stage left, is Willie Brown, who perhaps put his thumb on the scales of legislation once again. For those not familiar, Willie Brown is not only one of the most powerful politicians to have ever graced the floor of the California State Assembly; he’s been the most powerful Democrat in the state since the 1960s.
At age 86, he still wields considerable power as a “kingmaker” in the state. After serving 32 years in the Assembly, Brown was Mayor of San Francisco for eight years and was succeeded by his protege, Gavin Newsom. Kamala Harris’ political career started when Brown appointed her to a state commission then helped her become the elected District Attorney of San Francisco.
Brown wanted AB2257 signed immediately because, as a weekly columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, he had hit his 35 story limit under AB-5, and they were prohibited from publishing additional columns until AB2257 was signed.
Brown fumed of the move by Hearst Newspapers’ flagship publication. “For 12-plus years, every Sunday, I’ve written that column in the paper and never taken a vacation. And this is the most important year. This is a campaign year, when there’s really a contest.”
“I signed the bill, write the damn column!”’ Newsom wrote to Brown in a text message that Brown shared with POLITICO.
Earlier in the day, some of Brown’s powerful friends in politics, including attorney Joe Cotchett, contacted Newsom in an effort to get him to move quickly on the bill to get Brown’s Sunday column back in the paper as soon as possible, sources said.
“If there was a place to picket organized labor, I’d do it today,” Brown said. “If there was a place to picket a legislator, I’d do it,” he said. As Assembly speaker, “I made sure that special interests, no matter who they were – labor or non labor – did not take advantage of the Legislature,” but he said it was clear this time was not the case.
“Those bastards,” he added.