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Groups rally against employment regulation bills

"The state wants to take away our authority to regulate, but they will not accept the responsibility to protect our workers."

AUSTIN, Texas — At the Texas Capitol on Wednesday, people weighed in on a series of bills aimed at stopping cities and counties from passing ordinances that regulate employment practices.    

The bills, by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), were already passed out of the Senate. Senate Bill 2485 prohibits benefits policies. Senate Bill 2486 prohibits scheduling policies. Senate Bill 2487 prohibits the paid sick leave policies. Senate Bill 2488 prohibits "Block The Box" policies, which remove the question about criminal history from a job application unless it is relevant to the position.

RELATED: Group to rally at Texas Capitol to defend paid sick leave

Several community groups and city leaders rallied outside the Capitol to condemn the bills, including Dallas City Council member Phillip Kingston, who just this week worked with his council members to pass a paid sick leave ordinance. 

"The state wants to take away our authority to regulate, but they will not accept the responsibility to protect our workers, our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and the people who need to get their kids well," said Kingston. "This is simply a matter of putting authority where it can adequately take responsibility."

RELATED: Texas mayors draw attention to 'harmful' city-related bills

But Creighton and the bill supporters argue these regulations are burdensome to businesses and create a patchwork of rules across the state. 

It is worth noting a court blocked Austin's paid sick leave ordinance so it never went into effect, and neither did San Antonio's, which passed after Austin's. The City of Austin has appealed the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court. 

The House Committee on State Affairs will resume it's meeting once the House goes into recess. You can watch the hearing here.

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