Burdensome labor policies are creeping into Texas and threatening the economic future of our state.

From mandating an employer’s benefits offerings, like paid sick leave—which was passed in Austin and San Antonio in 2018–to regulating their business operations like hiring practices, scheduling, and rest breaks, cities in Texas have a complete disregard for the entrepreneurs who have invested back into this state in the form of community service, job creation, and bearing the brunt of the tax load. These types of local regulations bear no substantial relationship to a legitimate government interest and are therefore unconstitutional for a city to enact. They are extremely harmful to Texas employers and employees alike. Small businesses understand the need to provide competitive wages and benefits to their employees, and the majority do.

This issue isn’t about whether businesses should pay employees more or reimburse them for the time they’re out sick. It’s about whether or not local government bureaucrats have the legal right to dictate certain employment matters locally, like paid sick leave, scheduling, hiring practices, or other private employment practices.

According to the Texas Supreme Court, cities and counties do not have the legal authority to dictate private employment practices locally. We believe the Texas Constitution leaves such decisions to the state legislature, which also has the sovereign right to pass legislation preempting these types of local ordinances.

Now, other local governments across the state are facing external pressures to mandate how private employers operate, with carve outs that benefit only unionized employers (smells like California…). These local ordinances vary from location to location, creating an inconsistent patchwork of regulations that makes it both harder for cities to attract new businesses and create jobs and for businesses to operate across jurisdictions. The future of what was considered a ‘business friendly state’ with a robust economy is now in jeopardy.

These types of restrictive government mandates are very harmful to Texas small businesses. Just because the government mandates something, does not mean a small business can afford it. Small businesses operate on very thin margins and already deal with hundreds of regulations on the Federal and State levels. Forcing an employer to provide additional benefits, for example, could force employers to cut employee hours, other employee benefits, or put their employees out of work and close their doors forever.

Small businesses can’t be burdened by inconsistent labor standards throughout the state, and neither can their employees. That’s why it was urgent we form ASSET – to call on the Texas legislature to stand up for small businesses and pass a statewide law preempting these harmful, inconsistent local ordinances.