Southern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf


SCRID is an affiliate chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). It is the mission of Southern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf to provide local forums and an organizational structure for the continued growth and development of the professions of interpretation and transliteration of American Sign Language and English.

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5)

Read Full Text of AB5


As this is a developing situation please expect regular updates to this page.

Set your reminders to check back one week from today!

Last Updated: 29 November 2019

*Disclaimer: The authors of this page are not attorneys and are doing their best to gather information and accurately reflect events as they occur. It is the hope this page will be a source for information sharing and will spark discussions to guide our actions. Legal advice is being sought to help progress in actions being taken.

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Questionnaires

Please help us gather information on your feelings about the impact AB5 will have on you. This law will impact the services Deaf people receive because of its impact on sign language interpreters and realtime captioners in the state. What are your thoughts? We need data to take to legislators to show the impacts this will have on you. Please submit your response to the appropriate questionnaire, and share the links with other stakeholders. Thank you!

Consumer Questionnairehttps://forms.gle/5BjxuvAYJrqhVsuE9

Provider Questionnaire: https://forms.gle/R87Xq6xsFUvtTxNV9

Agency Questionnaire: If you are a representative of an agency providing these services in California and have not yet received this anonymous questionnaire, please contact president@scrid.org to request the link. Please submit your request via your agency email & include agency name for verification purposes. Note: All agencies providing services in California, regardless of the location of their headquarters, will be subject to AB5 and therefore required to hire interpreters as employees rather than independent contractors. These agencies are requested to compete the survey as well.

Live Responses


AB5 Consumer Questionnaire Responses: AB5 Consumer Questionnaire Responses

AB5 Service Provider Questionnaire Responses: AB5 Service Provider Questionnaire Responses

AB5 Agency Questionnaire Responses: AB5 Agency Questionnaire Responses 

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Contact Your Representatives

Thus far community response balances in support of seeking a professional exemption to AB5. SCRID is working with CAD and a coalition of realtime captionists toward an exemption request.

To gain the exemption, we need to submit data to legislators and gain their support. No one will sponsor/author the bill without sufficient data. The coalition of stakeholders is working on collecting stats on the number of consumers and providers in the state of California. We welcome any reference you may have to sources of data that would be helpful.  In addition to cold numbers, they need to see sufficient (lots of!) requests from consumers and providers. The more senators and assembly representatives we're able to get on board to back the exemption bill the better. Please contact your local representatives as well so they're aware of the issue. Thus far our coalition has had contact with three senators who will tentatively back the exemption, and are awaiting data from us.


    Senator & Assembly Member Contact Information

      • Find Your Local Senator & Assembly Representative
      http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/
      • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, author of AB5: Submit comments here to send them directly to her as the author of AB5.
      Website: https://a80.asmdc.org/

      What to Send Them

      • Emails: Deaf (DHHDB) people, sign language interpreters, realtime captioners, and organizations working with the DHHDB communities are encouraged to send a brief impact statement sharing why you are concerned about AB5. How would it hurt you or your child? How will it hurt Deaf people? Try to keep your letter no more than one page long. If you wish to present your statement in ASL, you may either send it with a written transcript, or we will translate your statement for you and send you the transcript that you can send to your representatives. Don't forget to also send this to ab5statement@scrid.org to help us find a legislative sponsor! 
        Consumer Letter Sample: Form Letter Consumer.odt

        Email Subject: "AB5 will harm me as a Deaf person protected by the ADA"

        Provider Letter SampleForm Letter Provider.odt

        Email Subject: "AB5 will harm me as a [sign language interpreter/realtime captioner] providing ADA accommodations"

        Organization Letter Sample: (To Come)

        Email Subject: "AB5 will harm Deaf peoples protected by the ADA"

        • Phone Calls: In addition to sending impact statements via email, we encourage you to call your local representatives and share your concerns over AB5's impact and request backing of the exemption for sign language interpreters/realtime captioners.
        • Petition: A petition will soon be available to gain signatures of those requesting an exemption. The link will be shared here, on social media sites, and via email. If you are not a member of SCRID and wish to be included in emails, please sign up at the town hall meetings, or contact president@scrid.org.

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        ASL Town Hall Meeting Recording & Slides


         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21ZS-kNW04k&feature=youtu.be

        CART link: https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=TRC

        Slides: AB5 TownHall PPT GLAD.pdf

        Note, this event did not have the setup to embed live captions on the Facebook stream. The link above will open in a separate window, which can be sized next to or above/below the townhall video. 

        Townhalls were held 10/26/19 at OC Deaf, 11/02/19 at CODIE, and 11/09/19 at GLAD. All townhalls were livestreamed to SCRID's facebook page and may be found there.

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        Information

        Summary:


        General understanding of this bill is that it was written in response to concern over companies, especially in the gig economy, who may be taking advantage of the independent contractor (IC) status in their business relationships. Uber and Lyft are the two companies most of us are aware of at the center of the discussion that drew the authoring of this bill. The bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom 18 September 2019 and will become effective 01 January 2020.

        As it relates to the interpreting & captioning professions, it seems this law will no longer allow interpreting/CART agencies to work with interpreters/captioners as ICs. They may instead hire the provider as an employee, or potentially enter into a business-to-business relationship with a provider who has formally set up their own business. There is some grey area in the law, subject to further scrutiny and interpretation. For example the business-to-business relationship may or may not be effective in our field due to a question of who is receiving the provider services; and agencies whose business model is validly that of a referral service may be able to continue to classify providers as ICs. Additionally, it seems providers may continue to work as ICs if they are working directly with the requestor and the work being done is not in the usual course of the requestor's business.

        Many professions have been exempted from this new law, but sign language interpreters/sign language translators/captioners(CART) have not been included in these exemptions.

        A little background... 

        AB 5 codifies a 2018 ruling of the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903. Under this new law, most California workers are presumed to be an employee for purposes of the Labor Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code, and for the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission. If effect, while it does simplify the test used to determine a worker's status, it makes it more difficult for CA workers in general to be classified as ICs.

        Under the Dynamex ruling, as of April 2018 the Borello test, the standard for establishing independent contractor (IC) status since 1989, has been replaced by the ABC test. This test stipulates the following criteria must be met to classify a worker as an IC:

        1) The company must not be able to control or direct what the worker does, either by contract or in actual practice; 

        2) the worker must perform tasks outside of the hiring entity’s usual course of business; and 

        3) the worker must be engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.

        To be clear, the ABC test has been the standard since April 2018 due to case law. The passing of AB5 does not introduce a new standard, but rather moves case law into statutory law, in effect strengthening its power. It is the second criteria in the ABC test that is generally seen to pose the most risk to the current business practice of interpreter & CART providers.


        Informational Links:

        “California Assembly Bill 5 (2019),” Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Assembly_Bill_5_(2019)?fbclid=IwAR0eP_yPfqgaJwt5E5808dFifPhsWW6WSKUGqCED62eeciJwEdvXL3u-a9E

        “Deconstructing Dynamex,” Los Angeles Lawyer, Sep 2018: https://www.lacba.org/docs/default-source/lal-magazine/2018-test-articles/september2018testarticle.pdf

        “Independent Contractors May Actually be Employees,” American Bar Association, 23 Nov 2018: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/litigation/publications/litigation-news/featured-articles/2018/independent-contractors-might-actually-be-employees/

        "AB5 gig work bill: All your Questions Answered," San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Sep 2019: https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/AB5-gig-work-bill-All-your-questions-answered-14441764.php

        "California has a new law for contract workers. But many businesses aren’t ready for change," LA Times, 29 Sep 2019: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-09-27/ab5-independent-contractors-how-businesses-are-responding

        "California's contract worker law could add health coverage for some but put others at risk," LA Times, 04 Oct 2019: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-04/california-law-contract-work-health-coverage-uncertain

        "California's contract worker law could add health coverage for some but put others at risk," LA Times, 04 Oct 2019: https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-04/california-law-contract-work-health-coverage-uncertain

        "How to Set up a Sole Proprietorship in CA," CA.gov General Information 2019

        https://www.ftb.ca.gov/file/buisness/types/sole-proprietorship.html


        A good basic explanation of California’s legislative process and how to take part: 

        “The California Legislature 101,” Indivisible CA: State Strong, 2019https://www.castatestrong.org/guide/


        Letters Submitted to the Legislature Prior to AB5 Passing:

        SCRID Ltr AB5 190827.pdf

        RID Letter on CA AB5 August 2019.pdf

        ALC - Worker Classification Statement.pdf




        Our Responses

        Please share with DHHDB communities, organizations and professionals, service providers, advocates, and others you feel could support the DHHDB communities in these critical efforts.

        Considerations:

        *Note: We have learned the option included below, for Governor Newsom to add clarifying language to the bill, has expired.


        This bill raises a complex issue in our community and we encourage discussion on the topic. SCRID has active discussions on its facebook page and is in active discussion with stakeholders, senators, and lobbyists. We feel the bill will do more harm than good to the Deaf community and we are currently exploring either a clean-up bill to be introduced to our legislators when they return to session in January 2020, or a clarifying description added to the bill itself by Governor Newsom.

        With the bill having been signed, our understanding is that to obtain an exemption there are two options: either a "clean-up bill" would need to be introduced and passed through our legislature, or an amendment to the bill could be made. We will need legislative support of our request for the exemption under either option. The senators in communication with members of the CART community we're working with have informed us they are interested in supporting the exemption if they see enough support from Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing (DHHDB) consumers, sign language interpreters/sign language translators/captioners, and laborers unions. Because this bill was introduced to protect workers from potential abuse by businesses (agencies) and has financial impact on those businesses, legislators are well aware that agencies desire the exemptions and have made it clear they are not interested in agency requests for support. Again, they want to hear from the consumers and providers. As a community federally protected by the ADA whose rights are endangered in this bill, the DHHDB communities' input should hold more weight with legislators than would input from the general public. Once the exemption request is prepared, we will let you know and ask all DHHDB individuals, interpreters, and captioners to contact their senators and assembly representatives to request their support.

        Professional exemptions have been written into the bill. Some simply exempt the profession from the ABC test and allow that profession to continue to use the Borello test. Others add additional criteria in order to obtain the exemption from the ABC test. It is important to note that it is expected the list of exempt professions will grow as the law is adapted moving forward. Many professions are currently working toward added exemptions. From stakeholder discussions thus far it seems most are in support of requesting an exemption. 

        While we wish to preserve the option of the agency/IC relationship, we do recognize it is not always a perfect one. It is crucial that as providers we educate ourselves and claim the power we have in this realm. Both agencies and providers must come into relationship in a manner true to the independent contractor role and honor the value each brings to the table. This bill, which we feel causes more problems than it may erase (not fix), may be the perfect opportunity for us to renew our commitment to understanding the actual nature of the IC role and ensuring that both agencies and providers honor the benefit it brings to all stakeholders. In doing so we will only improve the quality of services we're able to provide to the DHHDB communities.


        Timeline: 


        Legislature Reconvenes 01/06/2020

        Deadline to introduce a bill for exemption 02/22/2020

        Legislators are now in their offices working on bills for the 2020 session. Now is the time to catch their attention and gain support in backing the exemption, before they leave for the holiday season. Actions should be immediate and ongoing.

        Petition: This will soon be sent out and will remain open through the legislative session to allow continual growth in signatures.

        Impact Statements: Submit these now to SCRID for use as the coalition contacts legislators to back an exemption bill. They need to see data before they sign on and your impact statements will help that. Submit them now and after 1/6/20 to Assemblywoman Gonzalez and your local senator & assembly person, requesting they support the exemption bill.

        Phone Calls: Call senators and assembly representatives after 1/6/20 to request they support the exemption bill. It won't hurt to call now to get the issue on their radar. You could also suggest they consider backing the bill themselves. The more legislators willing to do so the better the chances for approval.

        Secure legislators to back the exemption: Data must be submitted before the winter holidays, preferably in November. If data hasn't been sufficient prior to 1/6/20 and there are no authors/sponsors, we may submit the request as an "unbacked bill." This basically provides a placeholder to get the bill into the system. Then we all continue to send emails and make phone calls to secure backers. Again, the more we are able to reach and gain backing from the better.

        Source of the Request for Exemption: 


        Legislators have made it clear they wish to hear from impacted consumers (DHHDB) and individual service providers. It must be you who reach out to your senator and assembly representative as well as the legislators already enlisted in our support, to express your concerns and your desire for an exemption for sign language interpreters/sign language translators/captioners. Please see the contact information below. If possible to call, it seems that phone calls are taken with more weight than emails.

        Potential Impacts as We See Them:


        • Confusion: A great deal of uncertainty exists in the bill as written, leading to confusion for service providers and agencies alike in attempting to follow the law. For example, agencies attempting to claim exemption through a referral service carve-out may be disallowed from doing so under Section 2 (e) (1) (D): “The service provider delivers services to the client under service provider’s name, rather than under the name of the referral agency.” Those wishing to claim an exemption through the business-to-business route may be disallowed under Section 2 (e) (1) (B): “The business service provider is providing services directly to the contracting business rather than to customers of the contracting business.” There is uncertainty about whether either of these approaches are legally viable, leaving the only clearly legal option that of using the employee status.
        • Deteriorated Services to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind (DHHDB)
          • The added difficulties caused by losing the option of agency/IC relations has viable potential to lessen service provider rates without the provision of benefits, creating financial difficulties, pushing providers to out-of-state work, and decreasing the pool of available service providers; create artificial scarcity through part-time caps on hours worked; create inequitable financial burden for Deaf interpreters and specialty interpreters, decreasing both earnings potential and coverage of consumer needs guaranteed under the ADA; and limit an agency’s ability to reasonably provide an interpreter they work with only a few times per year, thus limiting the ability to appropriately fill assignments. Compounded, these impacts have viable potential to lower the availability of accommodations as well as the ability to provide effective accommodations in specialty situations. *Note: A questionnaire will soon be sent to agencies requesting information on anticipated response to AB5. Results will be compiled and shared, helping us to better understand the likelihood of these potential impacts.
          • The added financial burden to employers, potential employers, doctors, lawyers, educators, and all other venues of life in which Deaf and hearing people interact with the support of interpreters/captioners (ie virtually all venues of life) will have negative implications on the view of the hearing requestor in their dealings with Deaf people. Already seen as financially burdensome by many, this legislative action will serve to raise resistance in hearing requestors to working with Deaf people.
        • ADA Violations: With added scheduling issues requestors will be at elevated risk of being out of compliance with this federal mandate. 
        • Financial Impacts
          • Greater cost to service providers as more must establish their own business (ie initial & annual fees, minimum taxes, etc)
          • Greater cost to agencies having to transition ICs to employees, leading to higher fees and/or lower interpreter/captioner pay. This applies also to publicly funded schools and institutions not budgeted for the additional expense.
          • Both of these impacts are especially burdensome for DHHDB individuals working as interpreters and/or agency owners. Already struggling to gain traction in this field, work available to Deaf Interpreters is unfortunately and inappropriately scarce. The requirement to establish their own business is an inequitable financial hardship, while the alternative employee status lowers flexibility and availability. Those working as agency owners are typically local and small business, therefore will feel greater financial strain in the transition to an employee-based model for hiring. Of course, these impacts are layered upon the already burdensome daily impacts as a consumer.
        • Artificial Scarcity: With the loss of flexibility in relational options, scheduling of providers will likely become more difficult, adding stress to a system already struggling to cover all assignments needed. Specialized providers, such as Deaf Interpreters and multilingual interpreters, will be especially impacted.
        • Loss of the flexibility and independence of IC work consciously selected by many in the field according to preference. Loss of negotiating power for ICs moving into employee status.
        • Loss of providers wishing the flexibility of IC work. A portion of those wishing to establish a business or to be an employee will transition to other professions and/or relocate out of state.
        • Endangerment of local, small business agencies more in tune with local needs, yet unable to compete with larger agencies in this less flexible environment.


        *Clarification on financial impacts and agency expenses:

        SCRID was asked for clarification of the second bullet point under Financial Impacts, regarding the potential of increased agency fees and/or decreased service provider pay. This is due to common business practice of recouping, rather than absorbing higher expenses. While agencies are not responsible for the expense of paid sick leave or matched social security contributions when working with an IC, they are responsible for these expenses for every employee. In the case of interpreters/captioners, agencies can recoup these new employee-related expenses by charging higher fees for services, and/or paying lower fees to service providers.




        Licensure: 


        We realize that in the interpreting and CART fields no licensure is required to work in the state of California. Many wish to see licensure established as a much needed means of quality control that has the potential to greatly improve the lived experience of DHHDB consumers. While this is a critical issue to be addressed, with or without the impacts of AB5 the current lack of qualified providers in the state remains. Licensure is an endeavor that requires several years to get passed. While not losing sight of the need for qualified providers, given the time crunch of AB5 becoming effective in January 2020, we will be keeping the two issues separate. 


                          Questions about how you can be more involved? Comments you'd like to be considered?

                          Contact president@scrid.org. Please know this work is being done on a volunteer basis. Replies may not be immediate, but we will respond as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.



                          Additional information continues to be compiled and posted to this page. Please don't forget to check back here and discover what you can do to help approach this new situation which will have great impact upon the interpreting & captioning fields, and as SCRID believes, a detrimental impact to our ability to coordinate coverage of assignments, especially those requiring Deaf Interpreters or non-majority language interpreters, thus harming individuals in the intersectional Deaf communities we serve.


                          Thank you for participating in this critical legislative action that will have an impact on Deaf peoples throughout the State of California!


                          Please remember to check back as this page is still under construction.

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