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WhatAt the beginning of August, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) and the California Coalition of Travel Organizations (CCTO) organized 24 senate meetings across California for local agency owners and independent contractors (ICs) to fight for an exemption to California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5).
Why It MattersNow is the time to speak out against AB 5, as this law has the potential to wipe out the travel industry’s IC model in California (and could pass to other states down the road). The ASTA- and CCTO-led event was a great start, but affected constituents should call and email their senators in the coming weeks.
Fast Facts- ASTA and CCTO received survey responses from 354 individuals offering to take action on behalf of AB 5, with about half of these respondents offering to visit their local district offices on Aug. 6-7.
- Meetings were requested at 35 out of the 40 total senators’ offices in California; of the 35 meetings requested, 24 were scheduled.
- Meetings were composed of a mix of agency owners and ICs.
- Most meetings lasted approximately 30 minutes.
- There are about 90 industries that are currently seeking an exemption to AB 5.
- Advisors are urged to continue contacting senators and request them to contact Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez and urge her to make a Seller of Travel amendment to AB 5.
- Every senator has leverage. He or she could decline to vote for AB 5 on the Senate floor unless the bill contains the amendment.
What They Are Saying“ASTA did an amazing job with preparing us for our meeting with our local senator, as they helped us come up with our overall strategy and message,” said Melissa Varela, an agency owner who attended a meeting at the office of Sen. Steve Glazer in Orinda, Calif on Aug. 6. “I know we made a difference by sharing our personal stories and our experience in the travel industry. I received an email from our district representative saying she called the capitol office right after we met.”
“After we left, we all said, ‘That was a fantastic meeting,’” said Steve Orens, an agency owner who met with staff of Sen. Henry Stern in Los Angeles on Aug. 7. “They said the senator hadn’t yet decided on the bill, but I imagine whatever opinions they had were changed positively.”
“Overall the feedback was quite good, with some offices saying that they were supportive of the efforts to exempt the travel industry from AB 5,” said Diane Embree, president of CCTO. “Others were noncommittal, but promised to look further at our requests. And, there are follow-ups with a number of the senators were lobbied.”
The DetailsAmerican Society of Travel Advisorswww.asta.org