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Democrat Behind Law That Just Got Hundreds Of Writers Fired Says It’s ‘Not All Bad,’ Gets Smacked, Apologizes

By  James Barrett
DailyWire.com
California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher speaks onstage at Women's March San Diego on January 19, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)
Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

On Monday, Vox Media-owned SB Nation announced that it was cutting more than 200 freelance writers as a direct result of California’s new law targeting independent contractors. When one of those soon-to-be terminated writers posted about the “devastating” situation online, the chief sponsor of the bill responded by telling her it’s “not all bad” and framing the loss of jobs as a choice by the contractors. Amid blistering blowback, the lawmaker offered a meek apology.

California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) — sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who The Atlantic cheered as “The California Democrat setting the National Agenda” — targets the so-called “gig economy,” the use of independent contractors, including freelance writers and ride share drivers. Because Gonzalez’s bill arbitrarily imposes the limit of 35 contributions for freelance writers a year for a publication, SB Nation has been forced to cut ties with over 200 contractors, creating only about 20 part-time and full-time jobs to replace them — meaning some 180+ former freelancers have officially lost a source of income.

One of those writers, Rebecca Lawson, editor-in-chief of the blog Mavs Moneyball who covers the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks from San Diego, posted about the “terrible” bill after SB Nation announced the hundreds of layoffs Monday.

“Today, along with literally HUNDREDS of my colleagues, I was told that I can no longer hold a paid position at SB Nation,” Lawson tweeted Monday. “California, you’re breaking my heart (and taking my money).”

In a post for her site, Lawson expanded on SB Nation’s “devastat[ing]” announcement: “California’s terrible AB5 came for me today, and I’m devastated …SB Nation has chosen to do the easiest thing they can to comply with California law — not work with California-based independent contractors, or any contractors elsewhere writing for California-based teams.”

Gonzalez — the San Diego assemblywoman who is behind a series of left-wing laws since she came to office in 2013 and is reportedly eyeing California’s Secretary of State spot — posted a direct response to Lawson in defense of her much-maligned bill.

The firing of hundreds of contractors in order to hire just 20 employees, Gonzalez attempted to argue in her response, is a net positive. The 180+ contractors unable to land one of the 20 jobs, Gonzalez suggested, simply don’t “want a job.”

“First, this states the company had been contemplating the switch for 2 years,” Gonzalez wrote of Vox Media and SB Nation. “Second, it clearly states that those contracted jobs are being converted to full & part time jobs. I understand a contractor who doesn’t want a job being upset, but that’s certainly not all bad.”

In response, Lawson fired back. “They’re creating like 15 full time jobs for HUNDREDS of us who were let go just because California. That’s good? How???”

“And don’t tell me what’s good for me,” Lawson added in a follow-up post. “This is lost income for my family. In the case of some of my friends, THOUSANDS of dollars a month. It’s horrible.”

In response to the intense blowback, Gonzalez wrote, “I’m sorry, in no way did I mean to minimize your specific loss.”

As USA Today highlights, Gonzalez has been very active in pushing her progressive agenda since being elected in 2013.

“The Democrat who represents Southern San Diego authored 34 pieces of legislation, but for Gonzalez, that’s not exactly out of the ordinary. She’s achieved big wins each year she has been in office. Her bills often start conversations in other states and set the bar for progressive policies around the country, especially when it comes to workers’ rights,” USA Today reports.

Among the other job-killing bills she’s helped push through is the state’s $15 minimum wage bill.

Related: California’s New Law That Vox Supported Just Cost Hundreds Of Vox Writers Their Jobs

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