Now that lawmakers have promised to remove language that would have restricted LGBTQ rights, it appears that the bill to overturn San Antonio's mandatory sick leave law is on the fast track to approval in the Legislature, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Andy Hogue of the Texas Republican Party sees no barrier standing in its way in the Texas House.
"I think we still have a strong Republican majority in the House, and we have a narrow one in the Senate, but it has already passed the Senate," he said. "So if it's the House's decision to make, it will go to a conference committee, and then straight to the governor's desk."
The bill would prohibit local governments from regulating the salaries and 'terms of employment' of private companies.
There had been concern that the bill would also overturn local Non Discrimination Ordinances. While San Antonio's NDO does not affect workers at private companies, NDOs in many states do, and San Antonio has expressed a willingness to expand its protections to private employers, and, since an NDO is technically a 'term of employment,' there was a concern that the local ordinances would be overturned. But lawmakers in both parties have agreed to a 'carve out' in the final bill to protect local NDOs.
The NDO essentially adds sexual orientation to factors like race, gender, age, and veteran status as conditions that an employer cannot use in hiring or termination decisions. Currently, Texas has no statewide law prohibiting people from being fired, not being hired, or not rented an apartment, due to their sexual orientation.
Restaurant owner Eduard Contreras spoke for many employers when the told a House committee on Monday that he pays sick leave and has no problem with paying it, but the NDOs go too far in allowing local bureaucrats to rummage around in his financial matters, and that could have unintended consequences.
"These cities are giving themselves the authority to audit our books, they are also giving themselves the authority to start snooping at our personal tax records," he said.
Even if the law does not pass, it appears San Antonio's mandatory sick leave law is doomed. An appeals court has overturned Austin's law, which is identical to San Antonios, and was approved following the same petition drive mounted by the same labor and activist groups.