Who Doesn’t Love the Single Subject Rule? Prop 22 Proponents

The proponents of Proposition 22 are either too clever or not clever enough.  Either way, the judicial system will decide if Prop 22 becomes law despite what the voters say.

The November 2022 ballot proposition was approved by 59% of the voters.  It allowed for app-based transportation and delivery companies (ex: Lyft, Uber, DoorDash, etc.) to classify their drivers as “independent contractors” not “employees”.  If someone is an independent contractor, they will not receive the same employment guarantees as employees such as overtime pay, workers compensation, and other benefits.   Attorney General Rob Bonta stated “When workers are misclassified, they lose out on critical supports like overtime, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance.”

In August 2021, a Superior Court judge ruled Prop 22 invalid and it was off to the appeals court. This past Tuesday, the Appeals Court in San Francisco heard arguments and a ruling is expected within 90 days.  Those standing around the water cooler expect that regardless of what the court says, nothing will be final until the state Supreme Court weighs in.  

According to the L.A. Times, one of the arguments used against Prop 22, and substantiated by the superior court judge, is that Prop 22 restricts the state legislature’s ability to “…regulate workers’ compensation rules.”  For political and campaign junkies, the more interesting argument is it violates the “single subject” rules for ballot propositions.  In California, ballot propositions must only contain one issue.  Proponents are not allowed to have multiple issues or subject matters in one ballot proposition.  According to opponents of Prop 22, in addition to classifying workers as independent contractors it would also prevent workers from organizing a union.  Therefore, the proposition has two subjects.

Calpeek will be watching what the court(s) do in the coming months and we will keep you posted.

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