State Level Legislation

State Level Legislation

California’s AB5 law has led the headlines, but other states are considering similar legislation that could threaten the livelihoods of professional freelance writers.

Here are resources to learn more about what’s happening in different states.
To follow the status of any bill, check LegiScan.

California

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) went into effect January 1, 2020. The bill assumes all workers are employees, unless they pass the ABC test. Journalists were given some exemptions through the subsequent bill 2257.

California Assembly bill 2257 removed the 35-article limit for journalists and exempted freelance writers, editors, content contributors and some others, under certain terms.

In December 2020, ASJA joined the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) to sue the state of California over AB5. The case is based in the First Amendment and is headed by the Pacific Legal Foundation. ASJA vs. Becerra is ongoing.


New Jersey

Freelancers, including a core team of ASJA members, helped kill the anti-independent contractor legislation during the 2019 lame-duck session. The Senate reintroduced the bill, S863, in January 2020. The Assembly has not currently reintroduced their version.


New York

Former Governor Cuomo made it clear in his 2020 State of the State that he wanted to curtail the gig economy in New York state, at least as it pertains to app companies. Legislation in the senate (S6699A) and assembly (A8721A) stalled, and he formed a commission to study the subject.



Massachusetts

Massachusetts has had a law on the books since 2004, using the same ABC test as California. It has not been fully enforced, though given the awareness of these laws nationally, a group of freelancers formed a Facebook group to monitor and advocate.

FAQs, Myths & Facts About the Anti-Independent Contractor Laws and the ABCs

Here’s a primer on some of the issues involved in classifying employees and independent contractors.

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The PRO Act

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) would update the National Labor Relations Act (NRLA), strengthening the ability of workers to organize. But it threatens the livelihoods of freelance writers.

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Advocacy

Whether legislators are proposing anti-independent contractor laws in your state or you’re concerned about the federal legislation, here are the basics of advocacy.

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