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Bill to Pre-Empt Local Labor Laws Dies in Texas Legislature

June 4, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

AUSTIN, Tex.—A bill to prohibit local governments from enacting paid sick-leave laws and other labor protections stronger than the state’s died May 27 when it failed to pass the state House before the legislative session ended. The Consistent Employment Regulations Act, sponsored by state Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), would have voided the paid-sick-leave laws enacted in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio; Austin’s 2010 scheduling ordinance, which guarantees that construction workers get a 10-minute break every four hours; and possibly local bans on discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had named it one of his legislative priorities, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the state branch of the State Policy Network group of anti-union policy and propaganda outfits, said it would pre-empt “the patchwork quilt of local employment regulations” that  “intimately interfere with the employer-employee relationship.” The state AFL-CIO called the bill the “Death Star for local workplace benefits.” “Once again, Texas is walking a backward legislative path when it comes to civil rights, human rights, and meeting the basic needs of its residents,” federation President Rick Levy said in February. Texas has prohibited local governments from raising the minimum wage since 2003. Read more

June 4, 2019

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