California Strikes A Blow To Freelance Journalism

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This story was suggested to me on Twitter by @CaeljinkX. If you wish to suggest stories to me or want to see me respond to something, simply post a link to a video or article on the topic in question and tag me (@EphromJosine1) on Twitter. If I pick your story you will also get a shout out at the start of the post.

Easily the most important papers in regards to getting people to back the Constitution is the United States Federalist Papers, which were written with the goal of getting people to support the idea of a strong federal government and published in various local newspapers. Of the 85 papers, 51 of them were written by Alexander Hamilton, the 1st Secretary of Treasury and guy who had a musical named after him.

Doing that would now be illegal in the state of California.

If you do not know what I’m talking about, you have not heard of Assembly Bill 5. I will now allow The Hollywood Reporter to explain the bill:

The bill, which cracks down on companies — like ride-sharing giants Lyft and Uber — that misclassify would-be employees as independent contractors, has been percolating through the California legislative system for nearly a year. It codifies the 2018 Dynamex decision by the State Supreme Court while carving out some exemptions for specific professions.

But the exemption for freelance journalists — which some have only just learned about via their colleagues, press reports, social networks and/or spirited arguments with the bill’s author on Twitter — contains what some say is a potentially career-ending requirement for a writer to remain a freelancer: If a freelance journalist writes for a magazine, newspaper or other entity whose central mission is to disseminate the news, the law says, that journalist is capped at writing 35 “submissions” per year per “putative employer.” At a time when paid freelance stories can be written for a low end of $25 and high end of $1 per word, some meet that cap in a month just to make end’s meet.

35 per year! And notice it caps submissions, not articles published. So if I submit an article to a place like The Liberty Hawk and they reject it, that would still count as one less article I can submit despite the fact that nothing was published.

This is going to hurt independent journalists, only giving them a certain amount of stories they can write before they must be hired. This limits freelancers to only being able to write around one article every 10 or 11 days. This is during a time where news websites are publishing tens or even hundreds of articles a day and are no doubt getting thousands upon thousands of submissions.

The idea of this article seems to be, at least according to the authors, to force companies to hire more freelancers. This has however had the exact opposite effect as news organizations are currently distancing themselves more and more from freelancers from California. While this does mean a few are getting offered full time jobs, this is also a death sentence to most new workers trying to enter the industry.

What do you know, it’s just like all progressive legislation.

However, even if I was a progressive, I would see no way in which doing this would help most people. Shouldn’t a progressive answer be something more along the lines of forcing newspapers to pay freelancers more, instead of just limiting how many articles they can send? This is like limiting the amount of jobs someone is allowed to apply for in a year, as a way to create jobs. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to progressive economics.

Let’s talk about why this bill is being introduced. According to the author of the bill, State Representative Lorena Gonzalez, it was to create good paying jobs in the state of California. Considering this bill includes many other examples of labor regulation, I have no doubt many who support it believed such a thing.

The overall bill is set to address the issue of companies treating full time employees like freelancers. Examples of this include Uber, who considers you an independent contractor regardless of how many hours you work. However, considering every other provision punishes the company and this is the only provision that hurts the people trying to get hired, I don’t believe this provision has that same good intention.

Over on Twitter, Gonzalez has a picture of herself with Senator Warren as her profile picture, who she has also endorsed for President. Notice how this bill passed at a time where independent journalists are digging up old clips of Elizabeth Warren talking about her Native American heritage — which we now know was a lie.

What would then be the point of digging up these clips and submitting them to news organizations if that could limit how many others you can find in the future? This is what I feel is the end goal, to stop the spread of research done by curious people as many older clips make various members of the Democratic Party look bad.

Jim Hightower wrote about a similar trick done during the years of the War on Terror in order to stop anti-Bush and anti-War protests in his 2004 book Let’s Stop Beating Around The Bush.

It went like this, you pass laws that are clearly unconstitutional just before a big event. By the time you get sued over it and the law is repealed, the event you passed it for has already passed and, as such, you’ve won.

Make no mistake, the establishment knows they can’t just ignore. They are scared of us, and they will do anything to stop us. However, they have to hide it because they know directly stopping them is very unpopular. As such, they have to act in secret.

You know, I remember back when people who said things like this were considered conspiracy theorists. Who’s laughing now?

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