Shenanigans in the Senate. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate Local Government committee added an amendment to HB1796. This bill passed unanimously out of the House of Representatives on January 14, 2014. As it arrived in the Senate, it was designed to make it illegal for communities to evict a domestic violence victim from her home for calling 911 “too often.” The amendment that was added would outlaw local communities from passing/enforcing local paid or unpaid sick leave ordinances.
The amendment added by the Senate Local Government Committee—shown in all caps here—basically guts this bill. On one hand, it protects victims of domestic violence from being evicted but, on the other hand, it threatens them with loss of their livelihood if they have to take off from work to protect themselves or their family members and cannot get paid or unpaid sick leave that goes beyond federal or state law. Note, federal and state law only protect people who take sick leave who are employed by companies with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees. Since the majority of employers have fewer than 50 employees, this amendment could threaten a victim of domestic violence in two ways:
- She could lose both of her livelihood and her home should she be unable to pay the rent as a result of her job loss.
- She might be forced into continuing the violent relationship should she want to leave if she fears losing her job and can’t take off time from work to productively deal with the violence and injuries that have been inflicted, even after having emergency service intervention.
Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee need to be contacted asap to ask them to strip the “paid/unpaid sick leave preemption” amendment out of the bill. See note below.
The members of the committee are as follows. You can get their contact info by either going to the Senate Appropriations page or by linking directly to your state Senator below.
Majority Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee
Minority Chair of Senate Appropriations Committee
Majority Members of Senate Appropriations Committee
Minority Members of Senate Appropriations Committee
Thanks for contacting your legislator if she/he is on the Appropriations Committee. Tell her/him to call for the removal of the paid/unpaid sick leave amendment that was added to the bill in the Senate Local Government Committee and then send the clean bill to the Senate floor for a full vote.