In December, I posted a blog about some Pennsylvania legislators’ connections to ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. Among those legislators is Representative Seth Grove of York County, PA. In that blog, I focused on his paid and unpaid sick-leave preemption bill that would prohibit any local control over paid or unpaid leave of any type. His bill – HB 1807 – ran into a lot of opposition after a party-line vote in the House Labor and Industry Committee in mid-December. This bill has been placed on – and pulled off – of the floor calendar after 14 other Representatives offered at least 24 amendments for floor debate.
So on January 16, 2014, Representative Grove introduced a “new” version of his bill – HB 1960 – in what looks to me like an effort to avoid any changes to his original legislation. And this bill was introduced without, as far as I can tell from the General Assembly website, any circulation of a “Co-Sponsorship Memo.” I have been reviewing legislation on this website for years. This is the first time I have ever seen a bill introduced since co-sponsorship memos started being posted that has not included such a memo. HB 1807 had one; HB 1960 does not.
Differences in the Two Preemption Bills
Upon reading both bills, there appears to be little if no difference at all. Except for the addition of one new cosponsor (Rep. Fred Keller (R-85, Snyder & Union Counties)), the style of wording to prohibit paid or unpaid sick leave ordinances at the local level is the only change I can see. The result is exactly the same. The original bill – HB 1807 – creates the preemption with a one paragraph “Mandate prohibition.” The new bill – HB 1960 – creates the preemption by changing the prohibition wording to three paragraphs within two subsections titled “General Rule” and “Inconsistent mandate.” Both bills prohibit any local jurisdictions to pass ordinances that
“mandate requiring an employer to provide an employee or class of employees with vacation or other forms of leave from employment, paid or unpaid, that is not required by Federal or State law.”
Both bills grandfather any currently enacted ordinance but prohibit all future local paid or unpaid sick leave legislation.
So by adding one new cosponsor and reorganizing the way the bill is presented without circulating a co-sponsorship memo allows Representative Grove and his cohorts a “do-over” chance to ram this bill through the House without the current “baggage” of 24+ amendments.
Is there some subterfuge going on here? Is Representative Grove trying to get this ALEC-initiated bill passed under the radar?
If so, this under-the-radar effort doesn’t appear to be working. Both progressive members of the legislature as well as members of the Coalition of Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces have found out about this bill and are starting to push back.
Status of Bills
Due to the high number of amendments on HB 1807, the leadership of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has apparently decided not to bring forth the bill for floor debate. So the new bill will be a start-over. And eleven days after its introduction (January 16, 2014), HB 1960 will be heard AND voted on in the House Labor and Industry Committee (scheduled for Monday January 27, 2014).
This bill has no more leadership backing than original. That’s a good thing. This means that there is not likely to be a GOP caucus push to have all Republicans vote for this bill.
All legislators – Democratic and Republican — can therefore either vote their conscience OR their constituents’ views without fear of repercussion from leadership.
What You Can Do
As of right now, the focus will be to attempt a majority no vote in the House Labor and Industry Committee. So if you personally know OR are a constituent of a member of this Committee, please contact her/him by Monday morning at 11 am EST. Tell this legislator that you are a voter and that you want her/him to vote NO on HB 1960 because:
- It violates of core conservative and democratic principles,
- It represents attempts by national businesses to circumvent policy at its most basic level, and
- It will threaten the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need this form of leave to receive critical services to protect their and their families lives
For more talking points on this preemption bill, click here.
Here’s a list of the targeted members of the House Labor and Industry Committee. Each link will take you to the legislator’s personal legislative web page where you can find full contact information – addresses, phone numbers, faxes, and email. And for some of the legislators, you will also have links to either their Facebook and/or Twitter accounts so you can contact them that way as well.
- Mackenzie, Ryan E., Vice Chair
- Bloom, Stephen, Secretary
- Aument, Ryan P.
- Cox, Jim
- Culver, Lynda Schlegel
- Cutler, Bryan
- Delozier, Sheryl M.
- Gillen, Mark M.
- Grove, Seth M.
- Keller, Fred
- Lucas, Gregory S.
- McGinnis, John D
- Mentzer, Steven C.
- Truitt, Dan
- Gergely, Marc J., Democratic Vice Chair
- Snyder, Pam, Democratic Secretary
- Boyle, Brendan F.
- Donatucci, Maria P.
- Galloway, John T.
- Harkins, Patrick J.
- Neuman, Brandon P.
- Parker, Cherelle L.
- White, Jesse
Thanks for taking time to help stop this bill and to stop this underhanded attempt to ram through a proposed law that threatens, among others, the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking who need time off from work to create a safety plan or obtain needed services and protections.