Given that AB 5 is the law, what should court reporters do now?
Ok, so now what? AB 5 codified in an official kinda way what was already the precedent known as 'Dynamex' (pronounced 'dynamics') since April, 2018. Every freelance court reporter -- and I would argue official court reporters too -- are affected. I've written plenty on that already on this blog. But today's post is about what to do now.
I plan to keep adding to this list but here's what I'm thinking so far:
- Contact your attorney and CPA to see how AB 5 affects you in your own specific situation.
- Likely you should get a business license.
- Likely you and your attorney/CPA will want to discuss forming a legal entity for yourself. This entity would probably be a Sole Proprietor, LLC, or S-Corp. (A few CPAs I know are offering special packages just for court reporters to incorporate. Check out Tejas Mehta or Phil Liberatore. ) Is incorporating the magic bullet? Unknown. But there is very good legal research going on that supports the notion that AB 5 affords a B2B exemption.
- Educate yourself on what AB 5 means. There's tons of resources out there now. My blog is hopefully just a first stop on your journey.
- Contact DRA and CCRA and let them know you are interested in AB 5 and having them push an agenda for a carve-out from the law. Both associations must work together to lobby for this. Your voice is important and powerful. They will listen to you.
- Contact your local legislator to let them know that court reporters need an exemption in AB 5. http://www.legislature.ca.gov/your_legislator.html
- Don't panic. A solution will be found. Court reporting will not come to an end. Things may change but there is an irrevocable necessity for what court reporters provide to the legal community.
Please take part in the grassroots effort to get an exemption in AB 5. Here is what to do -- write an email to the four legislators listed below as soon as possible. Additionally, CC the emails of the CCRA and DRA leadership. You can easily cut and paste and use the wording that is included. [Courtesy Tom Lange, CSR from ROYAL PHILLIPS]
Dear Senator Hill/Assemblywoman Gonzales:
I am a shorthand reporter certified in California, and work as an independent contractor for court reporting agencies. It is very important to me that I remain an independent contractor as I require the flexibility that being an independent contractor provides. I want to be able to accept or reject assignments as fits within my schedule, and enjoy being my own boss without having to take direction from another company or be required to work as the firms may need me. Being treated as an employee would be detrimental to my work life and I would see that as an inferior situation to my current one. [Add any other reasons you like being independent, such as working for multiple firms, taking unlimited vacation, etc]
I urge you to address the problems created by the Dynamex decision by making sure court reporters are treated as independent contractors.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Legislator Email Addresses:
1. Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez: email@example.com
2. Shubhangi Domokos, Legislative Assistant for Assemblywoman Gonzalez: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Senator Jerry Hill: email@example.com
4. Gideon Baum, Consultant - State Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
CCRA and DRA leadership:
Toni Pulone, DRA’s legislative chair - email@example.com
Tuesday, November 05, 2019