This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.Someone in Washington is finally talking about the issues facing freelance workers.In recent weeks, U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, has been making news by giving speeches and interviews about what he calls the “sharing” or “gig” economy (a.k.a., the freelancers’ economy).In a July 6 Washington Post interview with staff reporter Cecelia Kang, former businessman Warner called for more politicians to talk about the needs of a changing economy.According to some economists, by 2020 about half of American workers will be freelance or contractual. Warner identifies three basic types of workers in this emerging sector:”There are millennials that we like to talk about as celebrating the choices of part-time work and who don’t want to have 9-to-5 jobs and who love working on three to four things at once.There are the people my age who are forced into this because they lost a good job during the recession and now need multiple revenue streams.And then there is the third category of people who are probably rolling their eyes saying this is nothing new and they’ve been working like this for the last 20 years and it’s been called ‘just getting by.'”Warner has raised the issue a lot these days. On June 4, he spoke about the topic at the New America Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank.The organization described his comments as “perhaps the first significant speech of any Washington, D.C. policymaker on the potential impact of generational and technological changes on the American economy.”One senator trying to get a dialogue about the new economy of part-time, freelance workers may not be enough to get Congress as a whole talking. But it’s a start.David Clarke is a freelance writer with more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist covering environmental policy. His current gigs include work as a Senior Editor/Writer for The Scientific Consulting Group, Inc., and as the Federal Beat feature writer for The Environmental Law Institute’s Environmental Forum magazine. In addition, he has written book reviews, encyclopedia articles, speeches, blogs, and other published work.
Debate on the Road Traffic Act was postponed in the Senate on Friday (November 23) to allow for public education and consultation with stakeholders.Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, who moved for the delay, said: “I beg to give notice that further amendments to the Bill shortly, entitled the Road Traffic Act 2018 be considered and approved at a later date.” Speaking to JIS News following the sitting, Senator Reid explained that the decision was based on concerns expressed by taxi operators and their respective associations.Among them is the provision for motor-vehicle owners to be ticketed for breaches by drivers of their vehicles.“As a Government that is clearly responsive to stakeholders who have concerns, we are prepared to bring those issues to the table. I think a lot of the issues that seem to have been brought up in the public sphere were misinformation, and I think persons were not as informed as to what the Road Traffic Act is seeking to do,” he explained.Passed in the House of Representatives on November 13 with six amendments, the Road Traffic Act 2018 replaces its 80-year-old predecessor, which was enacted in 1938.The Bill was first proposed in 2014 and was then placed before a joint select committee of Parliament for review.It establishes new offences as well as provides increased penalties for road traffic breaches. It also includes features such as a restriction on handheld devices and a requirement for drivers to have their licence always in their possession while operating a vehicle.Senate President, Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson said he has had dialogue with the heads of some taxi associations who were present ahead of the start of the Senate, and assured them of his willingness to listen.For his part, President of the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO), Louis Barton, urged taxi operators, who have withdrawn service in protest, to return to work.“Do not cause disruptions on the road. Do not do anything that is illegal. We’re trying to reform (and) improve the transportation sector,” he said.