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Will California’s “35-articles per year” law for freelance writers come to Myrtle Beach?

As CJR reports: CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY BILL 5 signed into law  by Gov. Gavin Newsom on September 18th, codifies and expands on a 2018 California Supreme Court decision that made it harder for companies to classify workers as freelancers rather than employees. 

The core of the Dynamex decision, and of the new law, is a three-pronged “ABC test,” which is used to determine who is and isn’t a freelancer. The “B” prong, which presents the biggest issue for freelance journalism, states that employers can only contract out work that is “outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.” A company in the business of journalism, then, could not hire freelancers to do journalism. 

The passage of Assembly Bill 5 offers some relief: freelance writers, editors, photographers and editorial cartoonists were given a partial carve-out, allowing publishers to hire them for up to 35 separate “content submissions” in a given year.

Nathan Cambridge, a freelance sportswriter in Los Angeles, covers football games and other high school and community college sporting events for local newspapers in Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge.  “In an ideal world, the company would recognize the value of my content and think, ‘Rather than not being able to use this person anymore, I’ll give them a job,’ but that’s not the world we’re in with newspapers,” Cambridge says. “What’s going to happen is, I’m going to hit 35 and they’re going to stop giving me assignments.”

Newspapers are struggling nationally to meet payroll. This law kills Freelance Journalism and expedites newspapers and journalism blog sites into extinction. The Washington Times reports: “The bill, predictably driven by the state’s labor unions, is a disaster for just about every industry it touches. But it will make life particularly difficult for writers who wish to remain independent of full-time publications, writers who are between jobs, and writers just looking to make some extra cash on the side.”

LAWS DO GO VIRAL

Hirsch Ed Wilson
Myrtle Beach Social Media Contractor Gordon Hirsch

Laws, like Assembly 5, end up having local consequences for businesses like MyrtleBeachSC News. For over a decade, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Myrtle Beach, elected leaders in Horry County, State Senators, State Representatives and bureaucrats employed by the City of Myrtle Beach have worked tirelessly to discredit our news.

Assembly 5 is the kind of law Mayor Brenda Bethune of Myrtle Beach can get behind. She was an early proponent of “Red Flag” gun confiscation inside the city limits of Myrtle Beach.

She has not yet been able to get Myrtle Beach City Council behind her on this push, however, if Columbia, S.C.’s Red Flag ordinance is not legally challenged, a Myrtle Beach ordinance is likely coming. Creating such an ordinance is unconstitutional, but that has not stopped the city of Myrtle Beach in the past. The City of Myrtle Beach helmet laws are just one example of the city passing an unconstitutional law which was later overturned by the S.C. Courts.

BROADENING THE SCOPE OF THIS LAW

Are we safe, as a community, allowing politicians to decide who is and who is not a journalist? From county council, to city council, to state government, many elected politicians would gladly love to limit or outlaw the Nerve.com, GrandStrandDaily.com and MyrtleBeachSC News. They would also like to limit any such news from investigating what happens politically in S.C.

WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT and in jeopardy?

MyrtleBeachSC News does not put up a paywall like other news sites. Our news is filled with articles that put sunlight on systems of government.

What kind of government agency or local politician would NOT want to censor us? Only honest politicians like our reporting.

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson, NMB Mayor Hatley, Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner, Surfside Beach Mayor Bob Hellyer, NMB State Rep. William Bailey, Rep. Jonathan Hill, Representative Stewart O. Jones, and Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones, are among a select few who would fight to see that our rights remain intact.

Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune, Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen, State Rep. Alan Clemmons, and S.C. Senator Luke Rankin would likely walk through coals to take our free speech rights away.

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About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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