The fight against California Assembly Bill (AB) 5 continues. A joint Lobbying Day, held in partnership between the California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO) and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), will take place on August 6. On this day, the CCTO and ASTA are asking independent contractors (ICs) and travel agency owners to visit the district offices of their California state Senators, asking for an exemption to AB 5.
ASTA and CCTO will be coordinating the lobbying efforts and their hope is that they will be able to send teams of three to four constituents to the district offices of all 40 Senators.
ICs and agency owners are asked to fill out this survey if you are willing to visit your state Senator’s district office. The CCTO and ASTA will then be making appointments for all participants and will provide the information needed in order to participate.
With ASTA giving the bill an 85 to 95 percent chance of passing, its current goal is to receive an exemption for the travel industry. A recent survey found that 27 percent of California ICs would move out of state if they could not keep working as an independent advisor and that 35 percent reported that they would leave the industry.
A recent call-to-action from the CCTO reads, “Our request is that state Senators take action to ensure that AB 5 is amended to include a provision clearly stating in the law that the Borello test (the current law) rather than the Dynamex ABC test is utilized for determining the status of a Seller of Travel as either an independent contractor or employee.”
Another effort that ASTA has made is via urging advisors to contact their local news outlets about the importance of amending the legislation to protect the current travel agency model, as well as other California small businesses. To assist in this, ASTA created an online portal to more easily contact these news organizations.
Last week, ASTA hosted a webinar offering five options for California host agencies should the bill pass without an exemption; these included: taking no action; terminating California IC contracts now; allowing California IC contracts to expire without renewing; converting California ICs to W-2 status; and creating a separate entity to engage California ICs.