If 'Paid Sick Leave' passes Austin Council will State Legislature reverse it?
AUSTIN, Texas - During a special-called meeting last week on Council Member Greg Casar's earned paid sick time standards, Council Member Leslie Pool wished the mandate would go statewide and worried about the Republican-controlled Legislature targeting it.
"What protections do we have if we pass this and then all of a sudden the state pre-empts us and it's taken away? So we will have had this debate and this fight and we may have put something in place and it will last all of...maybe a year," Pool said.
"I don't want to be held back from doing it because I think it might get taken away. I want to do the right thing and then we'll have the discussion at the Legislature if it comes up," Casar said.
Chances are it's going to come up.
"Businesses put their time and their money, their energy to make that business go. And then policies come around, ordinances come around that make it a barrier, a burden for the private sector to do business," said State Senator Donna Campbell.
On Monday State Rep. Paul Workman sent Fox 7 a statement saying in part: "Just as last session the State Legislature was successful in preempting the City of Austin's ruinous ridesharing mandates and "linkage fees" scheme, so too will the State Legislature step in and protect job creators from the Austin Mayor and City Council's employee-leave mandate on private-sector employers."
State Rep. Tony Dale tells Fox 7 he and his wife are small business owners. He says forced paid sick leave will have unintended consequences.
"Maybe people today are getting paid holidays off and maybe their employer won't give them that anymore or maybe there will be less people they're hiring because they can't afford to. There's only so much money to go around and just because someone is a small business owner doesn't mean they make a lot of money," Dale said.
A paid sick leave reversal wouldn't be the first time the Capitol laid down the law on City Hall. Think ridesharing, sanctuary cities, annexation.
"A perfect example of local government coming in and annexing without people's permission without their desire to be annexed," Campbell said.
"When you look at the City of Austin saying that they want to boycott businesses that are involved with securing the international border with the United States and Mexico, clearly there are people here in this building, I am one of them that believe that things like sanctuary cities are not appropriate for public safety," Dale said.
St. Edwards political science Professor Brian Smith sheds some light on the interesting relationship between Austin and Texas.
"It's a good attack point for rural legislators to talk about what's going on in Austin and use that back home, we saw this with rideshare that you can make points by not running with the City of Austin but by running against it," Smith said.
Smith points out even though Austin is a home-rule city, the state can supersede that and they've done it many times.
"When the legislators come in from all around the state and they see what the City of Austin is doing, it has a real meaningful impact on their lives, they see it first hand," Smith said.