On Wednesday July 10, 2019, AIJIC representatives traveled to Sacramento to speak before the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee to voice our concerns on AB5.

The Commitee chair, Sen. Jerry Hill, convened the meeting and stated that testimony would be heard along these lines: six minutes from those in favor, six minutes from those in favor if additional exemptions were included, and six minutes for those against.

Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez, author of the bill, spoke for six minutes in favor of AB5. Many union members also showed up to voice their support for the bill. AIJIC vice-president Jesús Rivera and other freelance court interpreters were only allowed to state their names, the names of their organizations and their position (in favor of including exemptions).

The bill was approved by the Commitee 4-1, although on Wednesday Assembly Member Gonzalez added construction contractors, business-to-business services, freelance writers, fine artists, grant writers, graphic designers and podiatrists to the list of exemptions. The exemptions already include doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, accountants, engineers, insurance agents, investment advisers, direct sellers, real estate agents, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians and electrologists.

The “business to business” provisions require that certain criteria be met, which might not be enough to exempt freelance court interpreters.

After the hearing, AIJIC vice-president Jesús Rivera and other freelance court interpreters met with Ms. Gonzalez’s legislative assistant, Shubanghi Dokomos, for 25 minutes. During this meeting our concerns on AB5 were once again voiced, namely why we cannot be considered employees since we all have many different clients which include law firms, agencies, government entities, private businesses, etc. We also explained that many times we contract with each other to cover assignments that we’re unable to cover.

The bill next goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. We’ll continue lobbying in Sacramento and later this month we’ll meet with staff from Assembly Member Gonzalez’s office again. The goal is to be added to the list of exemptions.

For more on how AB5 would affect us, click here.

If you’re an independent court interpreter, please support us so that we can keep lobbying and fighting for our profession. Not much can be done without funds. Click here to join as an AIJIC member.