On March 11, leaders from the Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) and PPAI met with legislators at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, California, for the local Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.). The non-partisan event provided a forum for these leaders to convey a powerful message about the value and importance of the promotional products industry in Southern California.

RJ Hagel, SAAC board member and L.E.A.D. Local participant, says, “I am honored to have been a part of the conversation and was excited to see the impact promotional products play in the lives of our state government. Every office we visited had products purchased through our industry displayed on desks, tables and walls. Many we spoke with had great things to say about their favorite promo pen or t-shirt.”

One key message delivered by SAAC leaders focused on the impact that Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) is having on the industry. Under this bill, a new standard has been established for independent contractors, requiring many to be reclassified as employees covered by minimum wage, overtime, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. AB 5’s intent was to protect workers primarily in the gig economy, such as Uber and Lyft drivers, but overlooked that many salespeople willingly and intentionally chose the independent contractor status. Being an independent contractor provides distributors the ability to be their own boss, set their own hours and manage their own book of business without having the overhead and tax implications that come with being a business owner. Numerous state senators, assembly members and their staff heard personal stories and were provided statistical data on how AB 5 is harming the promotional products industry.

Throughout the event, SAAC leaders made essential connections with lawmakers and their staffs who have the potential to influence and shape legislation that can positively affect the industry. SAAC members can help continue this conversation by contacting their local representatives by clicking here.