Bills Attack Independent Contractors

Just a week after more than 1,600 hairstylists and cosmetologists came to Olympia to protest a bill that would restrict them from being independent contractors, similar legislation may be moving forward. Washington House Republicans’ John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

SATTGAST: House Bill 1601 would prohibit the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. The measure comes with civil fines and penalties.

Spokane Valley Republican Representative Matt Shea called this legislation, along with the other independent contractor bills, “an attack on small business.”

SHEA:“Look, these are small business owners. A lot of them are the sole breadwinners for their family. A lot of them are single mothers. This is a way that they earn a living. We shouldn’t be attacking it. We should actually be getting government out of the way and promoting these types of businesses.”

The ranking Republican on the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee, Representative Gina Mosbrucker of Goldendale, says the bills are broadly written to affect others besides hairstylists.

MOSBRUCKER: “The most important thing about this is the story we’re not telling. And that’s that it also affects construction workers, custodians, truck drivers, home health care workers, hospitality delivery services. And we have to pay attention to these bills, because they can be life changing.”

SATTGAST: Shea said unless independent contractors stay extra vigilant, there’s a good chance one or more of these bills, that could restrict their livelihoods, may pass the Legislature, even with Republican opposition. John Sattgast, Olympia.