Lege Lines: GOP Sharpens Its Claws for Paid Sick Leave With SB 15
"Consistent Employment Regulations Act" would dismantle city's right to protect workers
Gov. Abbott, along with his fans at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and National Federation of Independent Business, sees Senate Bill 15, by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, as the club for beating local employment regulations – such as paid sick leave – out of existence. Dubbed the "Consistent Employment Regulations Act," SB 15 does not affect anti-discrimination laws or provisions of contracts between employers and local governments, but otherwise deems it verboten for cities and counties to try to go above and beyond the meager worker protections in state and federal law. TPPF and NFIB – who successfully challenged Austin's paid sick leave ordinance in court – say SB 15 is the way to "settle this issue once and for all," according to NFIB-Texas Director Annie Spilman. "Our small business members don't have the time or resources to navigate a confusing and contradictory patchwork of local ordinances that go above and beyond what the state requires." Council Member Greg Casar, author of the city ordinance, disagreed in a statement Wednesday. "The United States is the only advanced economy on earth that doesn't have a national paid leave law," he said. "In a state as prosperous as Texas, no one should be faced with the impossible decision between taking care of a sick loved one and paying the rent. ... It is unconscionable that Legislators are filing bills that not only double down on the ban to increasing the minimum wage, but also take away people's rights to better benefits in general."