Repeal AB5 and save the workers and economy of California

Repeal AB5 and save the workers and economy of California

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Aaron Gayden started this petition to California State Senate and

Dear California State Senate and Assembly,
I am writing to you on behalf of independent contractors across a wide range of industries all around our state. I happen to be a musician. I am a full-time worship leader at a small church in Rocklin as well as being a full-time musician outside of the church. I am a member of several bands including the one that bears my name. As such I am both a freelancer and an employer. On a given day I may be recording bass guitar, keyboard or vocals or performing live in any of those capacities. I may in the course of my church duties, or for my own band or for hire be a song writer or arranger also on any given day. I could be contracting other players or singers for recordings or live performance. I may be a recording or live mix engineer.  That is a relatively fair representation of what I do as an independent contractor in the field of music. There are other duties and services that come into play as a musician or music industry professional. T 
 
As a band leader I am also because of AB5 an employer of musicians, a conduit of funds from venues that hire my band to my band members and sound personnel. This is also a complex process to manage. I take it very seriously as an artist and as a band leader. I take my craft seriously and I take my responsibility as band leader or employer if you will equally seriously. I would like few things more than to be able to pay my personnel what I believe to be their worth. I would gladly pay them full-time wages and full benefits like a typical employer. This was not even possible under the old laws governing our industry. One of those laws being the law of supply and demand. Recorded music is not paid for to anywhere near the degree that it has been in the past. Streaming services and YouTube have already altered the fiscal reality of the industry. This leaves live music performance as one of the only other means by which musicians can support themselves via our craft. I am a small business employee and employer. Neither of which is a luxury or hobby. If either of them are to become not viable I and my family are in jeopardy. And strictly on the non church side, AB5 threatens to make my business model at best stymied and at worst defunct. The financial and legal hurdles created by it are myriad and undiscernible. I contacted my county's tax office to determine my path to AB5 compliance. They were only able to give me their part of the puzzle.  I will have to consult lawyers and state agencies to ensure that I am compliant at the state level. This will be no small thing. And this will not even guarantee than I am fully compliant. No one is willing to say anything is definitive.
 
Musicians who are extremely aware and business savvy are unsure as to how this will play out. Lawyers who are also musicians are not sure how this will play out. The Beverly Hills Bar Association, who you would think have one of the best vantage points in entertainment law, do not know how this will play out in the courts. And this is ONLY the entertainment industry. We are but one portion of the work force that is affected by this legislation. There are scores of industries in California that are trying to navigate the turbulent waters of this violent sea change in how we conduct business. I don't know how difficult other businesses are, but in the music business for the most part, unless you are part of the 1% of mega and mainstream stars, you more likely than not live somewhere between just your head above water and on the razor's edge of survival . This is not a matter of excessive, indulgent living. It is the nature of the beast that is the very competitive music industry. This was true in the best of times and for our industry this is certainly not the best of times. But it the way we live and contribute to society. Many of us that are utterly capable of competing very well professionally don't bother doing so because the odds are not in our favor to be able to support our families. And many others of us do brave the eternal storm that is the life of the professional musician. And all of us that work at all in the field we love have been thrown into the maelstrom that is AB5. Regardless of it's intent, it is not going to help the vast, vast majority of the service providers that it purports to be defending. In ANY field let alone the arts and entertainment.
 
It is the literal need of members of the music and wider entertainment industry and countless other industries to see AB5 repealed. We look to you and the other legislators to allow us to work in our varied fields, free to negotiate our worth for the services we provide. We need your prompt, earnest, careful and thoughtful attention to this manner. We need you as the lawmakers of our state, to make our state viable as a place of commerce again. We have clawed and scratched to remain in the state that we love despite the unfriendliness to our small businesses and ourselves as independent contractors. It's been hard enough to make a living in our great state. AB5, as far as most of us can even figure out, threatens to make it something between an untenable and impossible situation. We love it here. We want to stay here. This is not just our workplace. This state is our home. You are the ones who dictate many of the terms under which we live. We urge and implore to do so as fellow citizens.
 
We do not expect successful careers. But we have the right to expect a legal climate that allows us to pursue gainful employment under reasonable terms. 
Thank you in advance for your assistance in making our many industries viable and able to thrive in our great state.
 
 
 

 

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