A proposed law in California meant to target ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft may accidentally take out many newspaper organizations as well.
California Assembly Bill 5 is intended to force ride-sharing apps to treat drivers like employees in order to make them provide more benefits, but the unintended consequences may take a huge toll on local journalism.
The California Newspaper Publishers Association published an opinion-editorial warning against AB 5 on Wednesday.
Simply put: AB 5 will likely cause the death knell for some printed version of California newspapers. It's not the only challenge to professional journalism in 2019, but it is by far the most serious.
AB 5 would force all businesses to hire independent contractors as employees – unless the business has been given a special exemption by the Legislature. So far, the Legislature has refused to grant one to the newspaper industry.
The association goes on to say that newspapers employ independent contractors to for delivery, and also for freelance journalism.
They warn that densely populated areas may still be able to have newspaper services, but those will likely increase in cost.
Industry experts have noted that the newspaper industry has been collapsing over a decade as subscribers move towards getting their news from online sources. Some publications also carry debilitating debt from the years when the industry was prospering greatly.
AB 5 passed the Assembly in May and is being considered in the state Senate for approval.
Here's a news video about the anti-gig law:
Here's what a Calfornia law could mean for Uber and Lyft www.youtube.com