Two years after leaving the Assembly, Brian Jones of Santee won election to the state Senate. Photo by Chris Stone

State Sen. Brian Jones announced his support Tuesday for an amendment to California’s constitution to overturn Assembly Bill 5 and protect the growing gig economy.

Jones, who represents East County, co-authored with Assemblymember Kevin Kiley of Rocklin “The Right to Earn a Living Act,” which would present a constitutional amendment to voters.

The amendment states in part that “individuals have the right to pursue a chosen business or profession free from arbitrary or excessive government interference.” It would also enshrine in the state constitution a 1989 court ruling that previously governed independent contracting.

The amendment would overturn Assembly Bill 5, which requires independent contractors in most occupations to become shift employees of the companies they work with. A small number of politically connected occupations, such as doctors and real estate agents, were exempted, but the new law affects millions of other workers.

“Hardworking Californians should have the basic right to decide if they want to be an independent contractor or in a traditional employer-employee arrangement,” said Jones. “If the employer and the worker jointly agree to flexible work hours or unconventional work settings, the government should keep its nose out of it.”

Assembly Bill 5, which was sponsored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, has already drawn numerous lawsuits, one court injunction and a number of proposed legislative remedies.

Jones, a Republican who is running for Congress in the 50th District, said the major beneficiary of Gonzalez’ law has been the labor movement, because employees are easier to organize than independent contractors.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.