Executive Director's Note - Feb. 12: Emergency Funding for AB5
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Posted by: TBA Staff
Since late in 2019, Theatre Bay Area and allied advocacy organizations have been working to educate both lawmakers and the field on the impacts of Assembly Bill 5 on the nonprofit arts sector. Arts organizations and individual artists alike continue to struggle understand the law’s implications. We are bringing the stories of AB5’s impacts on artists and arts groups alike to legislative offices in Sacramento.
Late last week, after hearing from a number of arts groups, advocacy organizations like California Arts Advocates, Theatre Bay Area, arts sector unions, including Actors Equity, the author of AB5, Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego County), and Assembly Member Christy Smith (D-Simi Valley), announced they had issued a letter the Assembly Committee on Budget requesting a one-time allocation of $20 million to support nonprofit arts organizations in complying with the new law. The funds, if approved, would be included in the 2020-21 state budget and administered by the California Arts Council as a new grants program targeting small-budget arts organizations that make a good faith effort to comply with AB5.
Additionally, Californians for the Arts (CFTA) and California Arts Advocates (CAA), the sister, statewide advocacy organizations, have made an appeal to the California Arts Council recommending emergency grant funds to aid artists and arts organizations attempting to be in compliance with AB5. The Council’s Program Policy committee agreed to move forward with reviewing criteria for the funds proposed and will bring forward their recommendations at the next public meeting on April 1, 2020.
Addressing the need for immediate emergency funding, Julie Baker, executive director of CAA and CFTA stated, “The $20 million budget allocation would be a tremendous help for small budget arts organizations but the state’s budget does not get voted on until June and then it would take months for the grants programs to be designed and implemented. We see an urgent need for emergency funds to be made available as soon as possible as we receive daily reports of organizations reducing or closing programs as they do not have the funds available to be in compliance with AB5.”
Californians for the Arts is circulating an online petition in support of the CAC creating an emergency fund to be made available as quickly as possible. To learn more and to sign the petition follow the link below.