Dallas Gave Workers Paid Sick Leave. Don't Let Austin Take That Away

Voters elect local officials to take action and enact policies that allow our residents and communities to thrive. Last month, I joined the majority of my colleagues on the Dallas City Council in approving a measure that ensures everyone who works in Dallas has access to paid sick leave. I'm proud to support this measure, and I'm confident it will contribute to making Dallas a better, healthier, economically sound and more equitable place.Our constituents expect local government — not the Texas Legislature — to solve local problems. Local government, closest to the people, is best able to act on community needs, views and values. That's why I stand opposed to State Senate Bills 2485, 2486, 2487, 2488 — just more legislative efforts to strip Texas cities, counties and towns of their power and autonomy.Most Texans agree. In fact, recent polling from the Center for Public Police Priorities has found that 74 percent of Texans support local policies ensuring workers can access paid sick days. Support is bipartisan, and high across the board — 61 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents, and 90 percent of Democrats support local governments taking action to ensure paid sick leave.The Texas economy has been booming for years now, and we know how to protect it. We strengthen our economy when businesses enact policies that allow employees to thrive. Being able to take care of our health and that of our families is key to thriving.Let's consider who the paid sick leave policy will help the most. It will help those whose jobs are the engine driving Dallas forward every day, those who keep our coffee shops and restaurants humming, our hotels and our convention centers up-and-running. Seventy percent of workers in Dallas making $15,000 a year or less don't have paid sick leave. Half of those making between $15,000 to $35,000 a year don't have paid sick leave.We did our job as local elected officials to enact a policy that enjoys broad and bipartisan support and makes Dallas a better place to live and work. State lawmakers, many of whom are totally removed from the realities of living and working here, want to interfere with our ability to enact policies like this, policies that strengthen Dallas and enjoy support from a majority of Texans.Respectfully, I'd tell those state lawmakers that their time is much better spent finally addressing the critical funding issues plaguing our schools, or on a variety of other statewide matters. Interfering with local governments will only hurt our communities and hinder our growth.Omar Narvaez is a Dallas City Council Member. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.  Continue reading...

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