A bill that would grant the newspaper industry two extra years to meet new labor standards passed a key state Senate committee on Thursday, Aug. 20.

Assembly Bill 323, dubbed the “Save Local Journalism Act,” unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Committee and advances to the Senate floor for its next vote. The bill, authored by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, D-Baldwin Park, passed the California Senate Labor Committee on Aug. 11.

Newspaper publishers are backing the bill, which will give the industry more time before the state’s controversial Assembly Bill 5 forces changes to longstanding delivery practices. Publishers say if AB 323 does not become law, jobs will be lost and the creation and distribution of printed news editions will be cut.

AB 5, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019, is forcing many companies to recategorize independent contractors as employees. The law codifies a 2018 ruling by the state’s Supreme Court that said workers misclassified as independent contractors lose various workplace rights and protections.