header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
61°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 26
1990 - "Duplicates" premieres at L.A. Phil; concerto by CalArts Music School dean Mel Powell wins Pulitzer Prize [story]
Mel Powell


SACRAMENTO — California newspapers struggling through the pandemic and ensuing recession will have extra time to comply with a new labor law forcing the industry to transform its workforce under a bill approved by lawmakers Monday.

The Assembly overwhelmingly voted to send the Save Local Journalism Act to Governor Gavin Newsom, calling it badly needed relief particularly for smaller, ethnic outlets that have seen a significant drop in advertising revenue since the pandemic stalled the state’s economy nearly six months ago.

Lawmakers said giving the industry an additional year to crunch the numbers and bring newspaper carriers off contracts and on as employees was necessary to prevent wholesale closures of niche outlets that provide critical information across California.

“I’m particularly concerned about the future of ethnic media,” said the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park. “African American, Latino, Asian and other ethnic newspapers could be the first to go. In addition, some counties in the state may become news deserts with no paper of record.”

Already devastated by a persistent trend of declining subscription and advertising revenues dating back to the Great Recession, the Covid-19 pandemic has further hindered California newspapers of all sizes.

According to an analysis by the California News Publishers Association, ethnic and community newspapers suffered a 56% average monthly loss in advertising revenue between April and June, while daily newspapers saw a 48% drop. To stay afloat, newspapers across the country have resorted to major layoffs and some have shuttered newsrooms or stopped offering print versions completely.

Rubio’s bill is intended to give the industry additional breathing room as it attempts to comply with a landmark labor law passed in 2019.

That law, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, was one of the most high-profile bills of the 2019 legislative session and aligned labor unions and Democrats against the gig economy and the minority Republican Party. Gonzalez said it was time for the Legislature to codify the ruling in Dynamex v. Superior Court and bring much-needed clarity to state employment law.

As a result, cash-strapped newspapers were suddenly left wondering how they could afford to go on a hiring spree and bring paper carriers on as employees. Distribution costs are often one of the largest items in the average outlet’s budget and a recent analysis estimated the average monthly increase for California newspapers could rise 60-85% under the new law.

In addition to the exemption that would allow newspapers to continue contracting with carriers until 2022, Rubio’s bill would require the Department of General Services to do an annual recap of how and where state agencies spent their advertising dollars. The goal is to encourage more advertising and grow agencies’ marketing presence in weekly and ethnic papers.

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, noted the sudden drop in advertising dollars and said it forced a community paper in his district, the Easy Reader, to fire reporters. He also highlighted the pandemic’s strain on the Rafu Shimpo, the oldest Japanese American newspaper in the U.S. in publication since 1903.

The Assembly ultimately voted 60-2 to send AB 323 to Governor Gavin Newsom, but not before passionate resistance from Gonzalez, who said the Dynamex decision was specifically intended to protect professions like newspaper carriers. She was the only Assembly member to speak in opposition and claimed the one-year extension for the newspapers was unethical.

“Nobody else is speaking up for [newspaper carriers]; they have no lobby, they have no union, they have nobody to represent their views,” said Gonzalez on the Assembly floor.

Gonzalez claimed carriers often make as little as $3 per hour and argued that because the scope and timing of their routes are determined by the newspapers, they should be reclassified as employees immediately. Gonzalez urged her colleagues to join her in fighting for the apparent underdog.

“I understand the pressure of the newspaper industry. God knows they will write a lot of op-eds if we don’t do this,” Gonzalez said. “I will sleep well tonight because a group of individual workers who has nobody to speak for them, and never has, is not going to get my vote on this bill.”

After clearing both the Senate and Assembly in the last 24 hours, the bill advances to Newsom who has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto AB 323. Under recent amendments taken by the proponents, AB 323 will only become operative if a companion measure that removes the cap on the number of submissions freelancers can send to an outlet is also passed Monday.

“We need to figure out a way to help our community newspapers, our ethnic newspapers to survive,” said Muratsuchi.

Over in the state Senate, lawmakers approved another journalism bill prohibiting law enforcement officers from arresting, assaulting or obstructing reporters covering protests and marches that are declared unlawful assemblies.

Senate Bill 629 by Senator Mike McGuire, D-Santa Rosa, shields journalists from financial penalties and citations for reporting on protests and allows them to contact a supervisor if they’re detained.

McGuire said the bill would apply to credentials journalists and reporters carrying broadcast equipment, noting that more than 500 reporters nationwide have been arrested or assaulted so far in 2020 while covering protests.

“This is a balanced approach in helping establish protection for First Amendment rights and ensuring reporters hold all of us in government accountable,” McGuire said.

Republican Sen. Andreas Borgeas of Fresno voiced concern during Monday’s session, saying the bill could overburden officers during stressful situations and may lead to partisan, unreputable reporters getting behind police lines.

“It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry puts on a badge and says they’re media when they just have a Facebook page,” said Borgeas, asking how the bill would better define the reporter role. “This would be putting law enforcement in a difficult position that could be exacerbating a volatile and fluid situation.”

The bill — which now heads to Newsom — was approved 32-2, with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting and Republicans largely abstaining.

— By Nick Cahill and Martin Macias Jr., CNS

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
Big Chicken Franchise to Open Location in Valencia
Big Chicken, the star-powered chicken concept founded by legendary basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced today it has signed a franchise agreement with chiropractor Dr. Pat Khaziran and his business partner and Southern California restaurateur Andy Gitipityapon to open a location in Valencia.
Monday, Jan 24, 2022
Rudi Sodamin Named Princess Cruises’ Culinary Arts Head
Princess Cruises announced Monday Chef Rudi Sodamin will become its first head of culinary arts, effective immediately.
Monday, Jan 24, 2022
Monday COVID Roundup: Two Additional Deaths at Henry Mayo, 204 to Date
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number to 204 since the onset of the pandemic, confirmed spokesman Patrick Moody. (One of those deaths was recorded Sunday).
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Los Angeles County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn called Tuesday for a thorough assessment of the Department of Children and Family Services that will place a spotlight on how well the organization is guided by evidence-based decisions and data to deliver outcomes for its clients. 
Board of Supervisors Approve Assessment of County Children and Family Services
1990 - "Duplicates" premieres at L.A. Phil; concerto by CalArts Music School dean Mel Powell wins Pulitzer Prize [story]
Mel Powell
The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley’s Empower Hour will be held virtually at noon, Saturday, Feb. 5 on Zoom.
Feb. 5: Zonta Club of SCV Hosts Virtual Empower Hour on Child Marriage
The Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will kick off Super Bowl celebrations a week early at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6.
Feb. 6: Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club Hosting Super Sunday Tailgate Party
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported Tuesday one additional death from COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number to 205 since the onset of the pandemic, confirmed spokesman Patrick Moody. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 36 additional deaths and 18,822 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 65,938 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tuesday COVID Roundup: Henry Mayo Reports One Death, Daily Cases, Hospitalizations Decline in L.A. County
Supervisor Kathryn Barger has voiced her strong opposition to a motion passed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to extend and expand emergency renter eviction protections through 2023.
Barger Opposes Extending Protections for Rent Nonpayment: ‘No Way’
The WiSH Education Foundation will offer a new Webinar Wednesday as part of it’s WiSH webinar year-round series for college bound students.
Feb. 9: WiSH Education Foundation Hosting Webinar on Athletic Recruiting
No. 6 College of the Canyons women’s basketball team won its fourth straight game 54-47 over West L.A. College at the Cougar Cage on Saturday, as Monique Febles finished with 17 points and LuLu Salloom pulled down 21 rebounds to keep COC in the win column.
No. 6 Lady Cougars Push Win Streak to Four, 54-47 Over West L.A.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission is looking for qualified applicants to fill the community represented role of Commissioner. Deadline for applications is Feb. 1.
L.A. Country Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission Seeks Applicants
Nominees for the 53rd NAACP Image Awards include CalArtians honored across several categories, including Outstanding Actor, Outstanding Animated Motion Picture, Outstanding Short Form (Animiated), Outstanding Children’s Program and Outstanding Animated Series.
CalArtians Among 2022 NAACP Image Award Nominees
Big Chicken, the star-powered chicken concept founded by legendary basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced today it has signed a franchise agreement with chiropractor Dr. Pat Khaziran and his business partner and Southern California restaurateur Andy Gitipityapon to open a location in Valencia.
Big Chicken Franchise to Open Location in Valencia
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced an extension of unlimited access to myON digital books and daily news articles for students in California until Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.
Extension of Unlimited Renaissance Digital Reading Partnership Announced by State
1915 - Death of pre-Mentry oilman & San Francisquito vintner Ramon Perea [story]
Perea grave marker
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 25, beginning with a closed session at 5:00 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 25: Santa Clarita City Council Regular Meeting
Princess Cruises announced Monday Chef Rudi Sodamin will become its first head of culinary arts, effective immediately.
Rudi Sodamin Named Princess Cruises’ Culinary Arts Head
The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office released the 11 productions currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Monday, Jan. 24 - Sunday, Jan. 30.
Filming in Santa Clarita Includes 11 Productions
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number to 204 since the onset of the pandemic, confirmed spokesman Patrick Moody. (One of those deaths was recorded Sunday).
Monday COVID Roundup: Two Additional Deaths at Henry Mayo, 204 to Date
Californians may now opt to receive vehicle registration renewal notices by email instead of a paper notice by traditional mail.
Californians Can Now Opt for Paperless Car Registration Notices
1888 - Acton post office established; Richard E. Nickel, postmaster [story]
postal cover
1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson visits Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]
HH Jackson
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang announced a corroborative effort with County Public Health officials that will include free COVID-19 vaccinations, booster shots, and PCR testing at three District Offices on Monday Jan. 24, Wednesday Jan. 26 and Sunday Jan. 30.
Free COVID PCR Testing, Vaccines Offered at L.A. County Assessor Offices
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]
Diseno map
The Castaic Union School District is proud to announce that the Jene Fielder Trust Scholarship Program is now accepting applications. The program is open to past and present students of Castaic Middle School.
Castaic Union School District Announces Jene Fielder Trust Scholarship Program
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control will teams up with Best Friends Animal Society to encourage county residents to “Live Large” with Adopt a Big Dog Special Discounts for large dogs through Jan. 31.
L.A. County Animal Care & Control Offers Big Dog Adoption Discounts
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: