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Federal Judge Will Not Temporarily Exempt Freelance Journalists From New California Labor Law

Rich Pedroncelli / AP
Dozens of supporters of a measure AB5 circle the Capitol during a rally in Sacramento. The measure placed limits on when employers can label employees as independent contractors.


A federal judge has decided not to temporarily exempt freelance journalists and photographers from the new California labor law known as AB 5. The law affects independent contractors in many California industries, and it went into effect on January 1st. It limits freelance journalists to 35 submissions per publication, and many fear its enforcement could put some of them out of business. But a U.S. District Court judge said the groups waited too long to file their restraining order.


Jim Manley, an attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation, said "Freelance journalists in California are losing work each day AB 5 remains in effect." Some journalists are also complaining that the law has turned into a blacklist for California journalists who write for national publications, so groups are suing for a full exemption.


A hearing on the plaintiffs’ request is scheduled for March, at which point the judge will officially consider their case. Until then, freelance journalists in California will have to abide by the new law.