Experts warn California law will cripple trucking industry

In addition to rising inflation, Americans also must contend with shortages of goods caused by supply chain disruptions.

Yet, according to The Blaze contributor Paul Sacca, a new bill signed three years ago by California’s Democratic governor could make the situation much worse. 

Bill targets independent truckers

Sacca noted how in September of 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) approved a piece of legislation known as AB5.

Under its terms:

“a person providing labor or services for remuneration shall be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that the person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, the person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and the person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.”

While the bill made certain to exempt insurance agents, health care professionals, investment advisers, realtors, barbers, and fishermen, no such allowance was made for independent truckers.

While a ballot initiative was passed in 2020 which ensured that drivers for ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft were excluded as well, the trucking industry was forced to fight the law in court.

The law firm Holland & Knight reported that in January 2020, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California granted the California Trucking Association’s request for an injunction barring the law from being enforced.

Yet Sacca pointed out how the law now seems set to take effect after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to it.

America’s busiest ports

That has led to worry within the transportation industry as many truckers are now uncertain as to how the legislation will be enforced.

One of them is Paul Brashier, who serves as vice president of a commercial transport company. He told CBS News, “This ruling really took everybody off-guard, especially at the speed that they kicked this back and essentially made it law.”

Norita Taylor is director of public relations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and she expressed similar concerns, telling Bloomberg that her group has “never gotten any good answers from anyone official in California on how this is supposed to be enforced or how our members can comply.”

Secca pointed out that shutting down independent truckers would cause a logistical nightmare as California is home to some of America’s busiest ports.

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