Bad Night for Tens of Thousands of Working People as Senate Votes to Strip Them of Key Benefits

The Texas Senate approved two bills that would take away the ability of cities to improve benefits for working people.

The attacks on local voter power came in the form of SB 2485, a general attack on benefits, and SB 2487, which applies specifically to paid sick leave and similar policies. The bills by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, won passage on identical 18-12 votes. All Republicans present voted for the measures and all Democrats voted against.

Several Democrats raised strong points about SB 2485. Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, suggested the Senate would do far better by "getting out of the way" of Austin's proven business environment, which includes a city decision to enact a paid sick leave ordinance. Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, pointed up that the bills, as written, could eliminate the ability of cities to condition tax breaks for corporations on minimum workplace benefit standards. While Creighton claimed his bills would not upend non-discrimination ordinances, plenty of opinion has surfaced to the contrary, including from lawyers hired by some of the wealthiest corporations in America. 

Creighton wouldn't budge when Democrats sought to include language from his own original bill (SB 15) protecting non-discrimination ordinances. That amendment failed 13-17.

The Texas AFL-CIO issued the following statement:

Bad Night for Tens of Thousands of Working People as Senate Votes to Strip Them of Key Benefits