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Opponents of Massachusetts IC ballot initiative ask AG to rule proposal unconstitutional

Opponents of a ballot initiative that would grant new benefits for app-based rideshare and delivery drivers in Massachusetts but allow them to maintain their status as independent contractors asked Attorney General Maura Healey to declare the proposal invalid, alleging that it improperly mixes multiple topics.

In a memorandum [1] published last week, the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights called for Healey to rule that the proposal is unconstitutional and block it from advancing further toward the 2022 ballot.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work — a coalition of gig economy companies including Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) and DoorDash Inc. (NYSE: DASH) — on Aug. 4 filed the ballot initiative proposal [2] that looks to replicate California’s Proposition 22, which voters approved last November.

The ballot measure includes provisions that establish an earnings floor equal to 120% of the Massachusetts minimum wage for app-based rideshare and delivery drivers — which will be $18 per hour in 2023 from app-based platforms, before customer tips — but with unlimited upward earning potential. Drivers would continue to keep 100% of their tips. They would also be guaranteed at least $0.26 per mile to cover vehicle upkeep and gas.

Healey is reviewing initiative petitions filed in the current cycle and plans to announce by Sept. 1 which ones she has certified as meeting constitutional requirements.

Supporters of the question responded that the opponents’ memo to Healey was based on “outlandish claims,” The [Lowell, Massachusetts] Sun reported [3].

“Given that drivers support the ballot question by a margin of seven to one, it’s no surprise that opponents of driver independence want to distract from this fact by making outlandish claims that do not hold up to scrutiny, all to block voters from having their say,” said Conor Yunits, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Independent Work, which proposed the ballot question.

Meanwhile, the Boston Business Journal reported [3] that the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work on Tuesday filed a complaint asking election officials to investigate the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights for alleged campaign finance violations; the complaint comes a week after a similar complaint was filed by the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights against the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work.