Saturday, June 27, 2015

Michigan Republicans move to block local sick leave and minimum wage laws

One of the things Republicans like to do with control of state government is make sure that cities and towns don't pass any pesky laws improving conditions for workers. We can't have local government ruining all the good work state-level Republicans are doing in keeping workers poorly paid and forced to go to work even when they're sick, can we? Certainly not—and Michigan Republicans are on it. The state legislature has just passed such a bill:
The text of the bill states that “the regulation of the employment relationship between a nonpublic employer and its employees is a matter of state concern,” and stipulates that local governments won’t be given the authority to pass any requirements like minimum wages or paid leave that are higher than what’s already in place at the state level. It now awaits the signature of Gov. Rick Snyder (R). The governor’s office did not return a request for comment about whether he will sign or veto it, but local advocates expect that the will.
These laws are gaining ground quickly, Bryce Covert reports:
If Snyder does sign the bill into law, Michigan would become the 12th state in the country to ban local governments from passing paid sick leave or minimum wage requirements, according to Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work. While just three states had these laws on the books as of 2012, eight have passed them since 2013.
Would it surprise you to learn that ALEC has been pushing such preemption bills?

Paid sick leave is very popular and has built real momentum over the past few years, with four states—Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon—now having sick leave laws, along with 18 cities and one county. The vast majority of those laws have been passed in just the last couple years. That fast spread of progress for workers is exactly what makes the issue such a threat to lousy employers and the Republicans who love them. That said, preemption laws have also been used for things like blocking the Denton, Texas, ballot initiative banning fracking in the town. Really, it's a great all-purpose weapon against local governments improving their standards beyond where Republicans want them.

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