The California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO) reports that it is pursuing a meeting with the organization sponsoring California’s independent contractor bill, AB 5, which recently passed a state Senate committee without an exemption for independent travel advisors.
The CCTO said that the California Labor Federation, which is sponsoring the bill, has offered to meet with the CCTO next week, and that the CCTO Board will continue to strategize on what’s next, as well as pursue that meeting.
“Unfortunately the CCTO requested amendment was not on today's list; however, it has not been rejected,” the organization said. “The author and committee stated again today that there will be further revisions to AB 5 and that there could be additional industry-specific exceptions.”
The CCTO also reported that its president, Diane Embree, and CCTO Board member Betsy Geiser both testified at the hearing, among hundreds of other people testifying to support or oppose the legislation.
“CCTO was in the group of ‘tweeners’ who support AB 5 if amended,” the organization said (emphasis original). “Due to time constraints, quite a few of the people testifying were not allowed to finish their comments, but CCTO’s testimony was allowed to be presented in full.”
Additionally, the CCTO said that prior to the committee vote, the senators, as well as the bill’s author Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, voiced concerns over the impact on small businesses that might not be covered by the bill and they agreed that further discussion is necessary. Gonzalez noted that she is continuing that work on changes to the bill and that final resolution could take a couple of years.
The CCTO and the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) had been lobbying for an exemption for independent travel advisors from the legislation, which would change the way in which independent contractors are defined. The two organizations have said that AB 5 could threaten the current business model of independent travel advisors, with many agencies saying that they would not offer their ICs employment in the event the bill passes unchanged. Most recently, ASTA warned that 41 percent of ICs might leave the industry if the bill passes without a travel advisor exemption.
The CCTO said that the bill will now proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it will be considered when the legislature returns from its summer break on August 12. Should it continue to move forward, a final vote in the full Senate would take place in mid-September.