Billy Penn in Harrisburg

Philly’s paid sick leave is under new attack in Harrisburg

A House committee will vote on a preemption bill Monday, but Gov. Wolf has vowed to veto.

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Philadelphia City Council / Flickr
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HARRISBURG — A bill that would preempt local labor ordinances in Philadelphia, including paid sick leave, is starting to make its way through the Pa. House.

Rep. Rob Kauffman of Franklin County, the Republican who chairs the Labor & Industry Committee, told Billy Penn he expects to consider the bill at a voting meeting this coming Monday. However, while the committee may very well pass the bill, it’s chances of becoming law are slim to none: Gov. Tom Wolf has vowed to veto it.

HB 861 was introduced by York County Republican Seth Grove, who recently wrote that it’s “critical to preempt local governments from passing labor law policies on private businesses.”

Advocates say the bill would put local ordinances aimed at protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination at risk. Grove, who did not respond to requests for comment, previously told WHYY it would not.

The bill’s true target, Grove has said, is Philadelphia’s paid sick leave law.

The city, which is granted special rights under the state’s home rule law, is the only municipality in Pennsylvania with such a ordinance. Pittsburgh attempted to enact similar legislation, but was almost immediately sued; that suit is still pending before the Pa. Supreme Court.

In a Facebook post urging the bill’s passage, Grove wrote, “Philadelphia local elected officials are failing their residents by passing local ordinances which are counter productive to economic growth.” He’s tried to pass similar legislation since at least 2013.

Should the bill pass the committee, it would still need the support of the full House, Senate, and Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wolf’s spokesperson in June told Philadelphia Gay News the governor would veto the legislation. His position, the spokesperson said Wednesday, has not changed.

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