California Assembly Bill 5, which includes a travel agent exemption to stricter rules for independent contractors, passed a concurrence vote in the California Assembly on Wednesday after passage in the state Senate Tuesday.  The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsome.

The governor indicated in an opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee that he will sign the bill into law. ASTA and the California Coalition of Travel Organizations, which lobbied for the inclusion of an exemption for travel advisors, said Newsome has until mid-October to make his decision.

The bill codifies a California Supreme Court decision to change the way workers are classified as independent contractors (ICs). The new requirement that ICs perform work outside the hiring entity's usual course of business would have been problematic. Without the exemption, agencies likely wouldn't have been able to use ICs anymore.

But ASTA and the California Coalition of Travel Advisors were successful in securing an exemption for sellers of travel who maintain a business location separate from the travel agency.

Last week, ASTA president and CEO Zane Kerby called securing the exemption "by far the biggest legislative challenge we have faced in recent memory."

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