Senator Campbell files bill targeting Austin, San Antonio's 'Paid Sick Leave' policies

Senate Bill 762: It's called the “Texas Small Business Protection Act"

"Businesses come here for minimal regulations, for freedom.  And if we start putting burdensome regulations on them, there goes our economy," said Senator Donna Campbell (R) New Braunfels.

Senator Campbell filed the bill Tuesday morning.  If passed the legislation would prohibit cities like Austin and San Antonio from putting their mandated sick leave policies in place.

Austin's earned sick time standards would have affected businesses both large and small but businesses with 5 or fewer employees would have had a little bit more time to comply.

"What we're seeing are local governments trying to meddle between contracts between employer, employee.  That's not the government's job.  They need to pay attention to roads and water," Campbell said.

Last year the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of the business community.  

The Third Court of Appeals ended up declaring Austin's policy "unconstitutional."

Policy analyst Shelby Sterling says they'll be supporting Campbell's bill and a similar bill filed in the House.

"Although we have every confidence that the Texas Supreme Court would take our case and end up ruling in our favor, being able to take care of this in the Legislative session would be a win for everybody," Sterling said.

"Both bills are very problematic.  They're aiming to take paid sick time from hard-working families in our state," said Ana Gonzalez, Policy Director for the Worker's Defense Project.

"Really, special interest groups are behind this in trying to overturn those ordinances that have passed and that our communities decided to do," Gonzalez said.

Austin City Council Member Greg Casar led the charge for paid sick leave last year.

"What Senator Campbell who represents part of Austin and part of San Antonio has said, what Representative Krause from out in North Texas has said is 'no we don't want folks in Austin or San Antonio to be able to get the paid sick days that they've asked their city governments for' and that just doesn't make much sense to me," Casar said.

Casar will continue that fight at the State Capitol as these bills are heard.

"I think it's really important for these State leaders to hear from everyday people that State leaders should be focused on things like hurricane recovery and school finance and not be so focused on taking away people's ability to take a paid sick day," Casar said.

"This bill allows private business to do what businesses do best and that's create jobs.  And we have to keep our jobs and our economy strong because there's not another Texas to move to," Campbell said.

The Worker's Defense Project says this Thursday there will be a legislative panel at the Capitol, discussing why Paid Sick Leave policies are important.