If local sick leave denial passes, PA Republicans are no longer ‘small government’ party

paidsickdaysignRepublicans in the state House could make moves this week to set a precedent that would echo throughout all municipalities in Pennsylvania, especially amongst their working classes, many of whom lack health care and sick days.

Because via the Leave Policy Act, introduced by State Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) and already passed through committee on partisan lines, the GOP may attempt to pass a law that would ban any local government from passing a paid sick days bill.

Paid sick days legislation, which would mandate employees of companies operating in a designated municipality get a certain number of days off per year, was almost passed in Philadelphia in both 2011 and 2013. That failed effort in was part of a larger, organized front to pass the law in both states and local municipalities across the country, which is still going on today.

Unfortunately for proponents of the law, there’s an even larger, better-funded effort to ban paid sick days at the state level. Such a law has already been passed and gone into effect in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker upended a Milwaukee-based paid sick leave mandate, the local law of which was approved by about 70 percent of the voters in that city. Nationally, the effort is supported by 74 percent of Americans.

Many of the proponents of the law have wondered what other local controls the GOP could take away from cities once they sack sick days.

No one associated with the GOP push for big government control has ever gotten back to me about the issue.

But the effort’s orders from on high are about as naked as politics gets. Dashing workers’ hopes of taking a day off when ill has been a long-standing goal of Republican overlords for some time. This idea is a standard American Legislative Exchange Conference bill, often written in part by lobbyists and big corporations, then passed out to conservative state representatives and senators to bring back to their districts in an attempt to stop a progressive trend—just like the founders intended.

Grove is known as a member of ALEC’s telecommunications and information technology task force, and has pushed numerous pieces of the conference’s pre-written legislation over the past couple years.

If and when the state GOP passes this bill, they no longer have any claim to being a party of small government, or having any stake in saying they’re doing what the people ask (the latter of which was already up in the air). Rather, the Leave Policy Act doesn’t seem much more than an attempt to screw small city governments and the workers who help those cities chug along.

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