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Chamber President Richard Perez testifies before State Legislature

President and CEO Richard Perez testified before the House State Affairs Committee Wednesday in support of three preemption bills filed by Senator Brandon Creighton: SB 2485 (employment benefits), SB 2486 (scheduling and overtime compensation practices) and SB 2487 (paid sick leave), contingent upon adding a provision that would exempt local non-discrimination ordinances.

One of the Chamber’s top legislative priorities this session is to protect the rights of private employers by ensuring the Texas Legislature passes legislation to preempt local paid sick leave ordinances, such as the one adopted by the City of San Antonio last August.

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce does not oppose sick leave. However, we do oppose municipally mandated employee benefits and pay, and strongly reaffirm the rights of private employers to determine the best and most efficient way to operate a successful business, while remaining competitive in attracting and retaining a talented workforce.  We believe that statutory authority for wages, compensation, scheduling and leave should remain at the state and federal levels and attempts to regulate the benefits employers offer employees is local infringement on private employer rights. We believe private businesses alone should determine the right mix of pay and benefits that they offer to their employees.

Perez testified that the Chamber fully supports legislation to preempt local paid sick leave ordinances, predictive scheduling, and any other ordinance that would attempt to regulate how an employer compensates their employees, but not at the peril of non-discrimination ordinances. The bills, without the NDO protection language, threaten our ability to attract and retain the best talent in world.

The Chamber supports policies that promote diversity and inclusion. That is why we asked lawmakers to reinsert the language protecting local NDOs that had been included in the original version. Although statements had been made that these bills, as modified, did not impact local NDOs, varying legal opinions say differently. With this type of uncertainty regarding their potential legal impact to local NDOs, we insisted on clarity and the inclusion of language protecting those NDOs.

After hearing nearly eight hours of testimony, SB 2486 (scheduling and overtime compensation practices) advanced with a 10-2 vote and included the language explicitly protecting local nondiscrimination ordinances to the measure. Creighton’s three remaining bills were left pending in committee, but we anticipate they will be revisited next week.

Count on your Chamber to keep you updated.  For more information, contact Stephanie Reyes, VP of Public Policy, at sreyes@sachamber.org.

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