California Gig Worker, Massachusetts Car Repair Measures Win

November 4, 2020


Big-money campaigns led to a victory for rideshare companies in California and a defeat for car companies in Massachusetts, where some of the most high-spending ballot initiative efforts of the 2020 general election prevailed. 

About $200 million was spent California to urge voters to permanently classify app-based rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors. That campaign was backed by Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., DoorDash Inc., and other gig economy platforms.

Across the country, national car parts chains AutoZone Inc. and Advance Auto Parts Inc. succeeded in passing a Massachusetts measure that allows any car repair shop—rather than just dealerships—access to an automobile’s diagnostic platform. That includes access to data typically transmitted wirelessly from cars to the dealership (Question 1).

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“My feeling about the initiative process is that you can’t win without money, but you can’t win with only money, either,” said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation. California ballot measure committees raised over $768 million for 12 measures this election. Supporters of the affirmative action measure raised 30 times more than opponents did, relying on the backing of some of the state’s richest residents, companies, and out-of-state donors like George Soros’ Open Society Policy Center. The state is still tabulating results for California’s proposal (Proposition 15) to remove a cap on commercial property taxes. In the early count, the opposition was slightly ahead. (Full Story)