Author Topic: Advocates for LGBTQ Texans warn sick-leave bill would weaken anti-discrimination laws  (Read 173 times)

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Houston Chronicle by Allie Morris March 8, 2019

City ordinances that protect gay, lesbian and transgender Texans from employment discrimination would be undermined by a newly amended state Senate bill, civil rights advocates say.

The prospect of weakening those anti-discrimination rules could set up the latest culture clash in the Texas Legislature, two years after the controversial “bathroom bill” stoked deep divisions among top Republican leaders.

At issue is a sweeping bill — backed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — that would bar cities from regulating employment policies and likely undo San Antonio’s ordinance that requires private businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Texas lawmakers have largely stayed away from contentious social issues this session as they pursue costly measures to slow the escalation of property taxes and put billions more dollars into public education. It’s a stark contrast from the last legislative session, when debate over the bathroom bill that would have restricted the public bathrooms transgender people can use took up most of the political oxygen.

It’s unclear whether the employment bill will meet the same resistance.

City anti-discrimination ordinances were initially exempt from the legislation nullifying local employment laws, but a recent rewrite of the Senate bill stripped that section. The changes also narrowed the bill — known as SB15 — to focus only on sick leave, scheduling and benefit policies.

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