Freelance Columnist Suggests Workaround To California's AB5: Submit One Giant, Regularly Edited, Column
We recently wrote about the many problems (even if created through good intentions) with California's new AB5 law that will turn many freelancers into employees. As we noted, a big part of the problem is that many freelancers don't want to be employees, and the law will almost certainly backfire, in making companies wary of hiring freelancers in California. The one area we focused in on (though many are impacted) is journalism, where the author of the bill, Lorena Gonzalez admitted upfront that she chose 35 submissions per year as the dividing line "arbitrarily," despite the fact that many freelancers will contribute a much higher number than 35 stories for many publications.Andy Kessler, who is a freelance columnist for the Wall Street Journal, has a new piece highlighting how silly this new law is, including the fact that it seems based on the assumption that freelancers all really desire to be employees.
Like many independent contractors, I prefer not to be hired as an employee. I don't want to attend company picnics or sit through mandatory sensitivity training. Shouldn't I have the ability to choose? Apparently not in California, a job-destroying wrecking ball. On a more serious note, many disabled people or parents with young children would rather work freelance from home than trudge to an office. Retaining more workers directly will send employers' costs up, up, up.But Kessler has come up with a... uh... unique workaround so that he can continue his (mostly) weekly column at the Wall Street Journal. Just do it all as one giant submission that is regularly edited:
I could invoke the First Amendment and free speech, but I doubt it would fly. Maybe I could roll out the big guns by telling the court the law restricts my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Especially liberty, which to me means, Stop telling me what I can or can't do.Maybe I should just keep quiet, but I guess that train has left. Instead, I plan to send one giant submission to The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 1, subject to updating and editing by me, which they are free to cut into 48 pieces (I do get the Monday holidays off). If that doesn't work, I'll claim I'm a psychologist, easing the pain of every lab rat abused by California politicians. After that, I hear Nevada is nice this time of year.This is all obviously kind of silly, but that's part of the problem. When the law has people looking at these kinds of silly solutions, perhaps the problem is with the law.