Labor Law Preemption Update
The 86th Legislative Session ends on Monday, May 27. While there were some important issues debated and legislated - from school finance to property tax reform to Hurricane Harvey relief, one of the most important business issues of the session failed to pass. Because of a fight that turned into the Bathroom Bill Part II based upon a perceived threat to local non-discrimination ordinances, bills to address local labor law preemption and statewide labor law uniformity did not make it to the Governor’s desk. Meanwhile, the San Antonio and Dallas paid sick leave ordinances will go into effect in the coming months.
The Texas Restaurant Association, along with a number of other business associations, companies, and a broad business coalition, ASSET (Alliance for Securing and Strengthening the Economy in Texas), supported and heavily lobbied on behalf of bills that would have prevented cities and counties from enacting ordinances relating to paid leave, scheduling and benefits. These bills would have left it to the state to legislate these areas, creating a uniform playing field, and the prevention of unwelcome, local intrusion into business operations.
While disappointed, TRA will be supporting a Third Court of Appeals court ruling that finds local paid sick leave ordinances unconsitutional. That ruling is currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court. While the Third Court of Appeals opinion only has effect within the Third District (Travis and surrounding counties), it is hoped that the Supreme Court will take up the Austin paid sick leave appeal and rule uphold the Third Court’s opinion and hold that all paid sick leave ordinances around the state are unconstitutional.