ASTA advocacy chief says California victory one to cherish

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Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president of advocacy, addresses travel advisors during the Signature Travel Network Owners' Meeting.
Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president of advocacy, addresses travel advisors during the Signature Travel Network Owners' Meeting.

AUSTIN, Texas -- For Eben Peck, ASTA's executive vice president of advocacy, finding out that travel advisors got an exemption from California Assembly Bill 5 is one of those moments he'll never forget. 

It was about 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, and he was home, watching "Stranger Things" on Netflix. His phone rang and the area code was from Sacramento, Calif. He ought to answer that, he recalled thinking.

"The rest was history," Peck told advisors last Thursday at the Signature Travel Network Owners' Meeting at the Fairmont Hotel Austin here.

Peck spoke fresh after the news that the bill had passed the state Assembly and Senate with the travel advisor exemption, and had made its way to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsome. Newsome has indicated he will sign the bill into law. He has until mid-October to either do that or veto it.

Without the exemption for travel sellers, the California labor bill would have prevented travel agencies in the state from using independent contractors.

"This would have been hugely disruptive to our industry," Peck said.

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