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San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance delayed

Paid sick leave advocates rally at Bexar County Courthouse/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance will not go into effect next week as planned.

District Judge Sol Casseb Wednesday signed an agreement between City attorneys and the lawyer representing businesses who are challenging the policy. The deal pushes back implementation of the ordinance from August 1 to December 1.

The ordinance requires businesses with more than 15 employees to allow workers to accrue 64 hours of paid sick leave per year. Those with fewer than 15 workers would be allowed up to 48 hours.

Paid Sick Leave Court Hearing/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

Attorney Ricardo Cedillo, who filed a lawsuit seeking to strike down the ordinance, says the judge made the right decision by signing off on a four-month delay.

“The most efficient and economic and common sense thing to do is to go forward with an agreement to stand down and punt the implementation date of the ordinance. Let the city have its opportunity to try to fix it,” said Cedillo.

Attorney Ricardo Cedillo, representing businesses in a lawsuit challenging the San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Ordinance/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

Barry Snell, who represented the city at Wednesday’s hearing said the delay will allow the city-appointed Paid Sick Leave Commission to continue working to improve the ordinance in hopes of modifying it “to satisfy everybody.” The commission would recommend changes to the San Antonio City Council for final approval.

The city attorney’s office has come under fire for agreeing with Cedillo to seek a delay in enforcing the policy.

“We’re already hearing accusations about backroom deals,” Snell said in court Wednesday.

“The City will continue to defend the ordinance,” said City Attorney Andy Segovia. “This extension allows the Council-appointed Paid Sick Leave Commission time to complete their review and provide recommendations to City Council. Moreover, today’s decision avoids an indefinite injunction, such as what happened to the City of Austin’s nearly identical ordinance. With more time, stakeholders can proceed with recommendations that best position the ordinance against potential legal challenges.”

Texas Civil Rights Project attorney Ryan Cox says the agreement between Cedillo and the city to delay the ordinance circumvents the legislative process. He argued that if the city wanted to delay the ordinance, the city council should have discussed it and taken action during a public meeting with ample time to hear from constituents.

“We think that the ability for the city manager or the city attorney to essentially veto or amend any particular ordinance that they want just because some plaintiff has sued them over it is improper,” said Cox. “It prevents the people, the workers of San Antonio from being able to talk to their elective representatives about the effect of what that delay and effectiveness would cause in their lives.”

Cox represents MOVE Texas and the Texas Organizing Project as interveners. After the hearing, he said he’ll have to talk to his clients and determine the next move, but he’s not ruling out taking the issue to a higher court.

Attorney Ryan Cox representing TOP and MOVE Texas at Paid Sick Leave Hearing/KTSA Photo-Elizabeth Ruiz

A similar paid sick leave ordinance in Austin also is on hold. It’s been ruled unconstitutional by the Third Court of Appeals and currently is pending review by the Texas Supreme Court.

 

PREVIOUS STORY

San Antonio (KTSA News)- San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance has been pushed back to December. It was scheduled to go into effect Aug.1, but lawyers representing businesses challenging the ordinance entered an agreement with city attorneys postponing implementation until December, and a judge today ruled in favor of the motion.

This is a developing story…


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