VETO AB5 - Until it exempts court reporters

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Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th St. Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

September 18, 2019

Dear Governor Newsom,

 The undersigned respectfully ask that you VETO ASSEMBLY BILL 5 until it has been amended to exempt court reporters. 

 While hair dressers, real estate agents, security brokers, accountants, doctors and lawyers, photographers, journalist and fishermen, among many, many others, have been exempted, court reporters have not. 

 We wish to continue to be classified as independent contractors and not employees for the following reasons:

  • In the terms used in AB5, court reporters go through “a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study…from an accredited university, college, or professional school, as distinguished from a general academic education.”
  • We typically work for dozens of clients — court reporting agencies and law firms — for very short periods of time for depositions that are complex and varied in nature involving many areas of the law, in different cities throughout the state.
  • We are not the “gig economy” workers  that AB5 is designed to protect, but rather highly trained and skilled professionals with established professional standards to adequately perform our work. We have been working as independent contractors in our industry for decades. The majority of us belong to  national professional associations like the National Court Reporters Association that set such standards; all us are certified by California by the Court Reporters Board; we operate as true entities and are corporations, LLCs and sole proprietor businesses. We have business licenses and promote ourselves publicly and work in a business-to-business capacity.
  • Our work end-product is strictly under our exclusive control.
  • We choose when we wish to work, what we want to work on, how we will work and how we will prepare for each deposition. We set and control our own rates, terms and conditions for each deposition and risk a financial loss.  We do not charge an hourly rate because we charge for the resulting transcript.  That includes the time and resources at our sole discretion that do not correspond to hours ‘present’ to deliver our end product. We charge for our knowledge and expertise. If not exempted, AB5 CA law will require us to be hourly employees, which we view as an untenable prospect.

If we are not included in the list of exempted professionals our livelihoods will be affected, as we will no longer have control of our own work scheduling or the professional end-product (transcripts) we provide. We will face logistically impossible challenges. We view this as a risk to our entire profession and its long-standing history. 

Please allow us the right to be independent contractors by including us in the list of professionals exempted from the Dynamex Ruling. 

Respectfully,

The community of Certified Shorthand Reporters