Date: February 25, 2021
Contact: Geoff Vetter (916) 634-9051
[email protected]

California Attorney General and PADS Coalition File Opening Briefs in Defense of Prop 22 

“Even if there were any doubt about the constitutionality of Proposition 22 – which there should not be – those doubts should be resolved in favor of upholding the initiative power.” – California Attorney General’s Office

Sacramento, CA – Yesterday, the California Attorney General’s Office (“AG”) filed its opening brief in the California Court of Appeal in defense of Proposition 22, urging the appellate court to reverse a lower court’s decision finding Prop 22 unconstitutional. The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition (formerly the Yes on 22 campaign) concurrently filed an opening brief urging the Court of Appeal to uphold the will of the voters who overwhelmingly passed Prop 22.

Both opening briefs outlined significant errors in the trial court opinion invalidating Prop 22 and urged the Court of Appeal to reverse that decision.

From the AG’s opening brief:

  • “The Initiative Power Is a Paramount Element of the California Constitution, and Thus the Court Should Uphold Proposition 22 as a Valid Exercise of the People’s Power”
  • “…the Court should reverse the trial court’s judgment…”
  • “…the trial court failed to accord the deference due to the initiative power at every step of its analysis. Moreover, even putting aside its failure to accord the initiative the deference due, the court’s legal conclusions with respect to each of the three bases for finding that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional are in error.”
  • “In assessing Petitioners’ challenges to Proposition 22, this Court must apply a presumption in favor of the initiative’s validity.”
  •   “This ruling improperly and unnecessarily found a conflict between constitutional provisions where none actually exists.”
  • “…the trial court erred in holding that Proposition 22’s amendment provisions violate the California Constitution because the conditions for amendment approved by the voters are entirely consistent with governing law.”
  •  “Proposition 22’s Amendment Provisions Are Constitutional”

From PADS opening brief:

  • “The California Constitution’s most central principle is that ‘all political power is inherent in the people.’”
  • “The trial court’s decision striking down Proposition 22 represents a sharp and singular break from this clear and longstanding precedent.”
  • “The trial court …decision is deeply mistaken on all three grounds on which it rests…”
  • “In sum, the trial court’s invalidation of Proposition 22 is at odds with key constitutional structures at the root of California’s innovative form of democracy.”
  • “If affirmed, the decision would permanently impair the People’s initiative power and would equally hamstring any future expansion of workers’ benefits by initiative.”

Proposition 22 preserved the right of app-based drivers to work as independent contractors, while also providing app-based workers with access to new benefits, like a minimum earnings guarantee, a stipend to purchase healthcare coverage and other benefits. Proposition 22 was overwhelmingly passed by nearly 59% of voters.

“We thank the Attorney General for continuing to take a strong position and fighting to protect the will of the voters and the integrity of the ballot initiative process,” said Jay King, President and CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce. “More than a year since its enactment, Prop 22 continues to empower hundreds of thousands of app-based workers and has proven to be a lifeline for small businesses. It’s vital that we continue to protect the will of California’s voters and stand in firm defense of Prop 22.”

Recent surveys show that 87% of drivers continue to support Prop 22 and believe that “Prop 22 should be protected by the courts.”

“Prop 22 was not only supported by millions of voters, but also hundreds of thousands of app-based drivers because it protects the flexibility and independence that is so critical for us. Prop 22 has offered me the flexibility and higher earnings I so badly needed when my normal work as a school photographer dried up during the pandemic,” said David McFarland, a DoorDash “Dasher” from the Sacramento area. “The courts need to protect Prop 22 because drivers like me rely on the benefits it has given us and we can’t afford to lose them.”

About Protect App-Based Drivers & Services (PADS) Coalition

The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services (PADS) coalition, formerly the Yes on Prop 22 coalition, is continuing to engage to ensure the will of California voters is upheld; to protect access to independent, app-based jobs; and to preserve the availability, affordability and reliability of on-demand app-based rideshare and delivery services that are essential to Californians and our economy.

Proposition 22 was supported by 59% of California voters, 120,000 drivers, and a diverse coalition of more than 140 groups including social justice, senior, community, business, veterans and many others.


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