Community Benefit Agreement bill shifts focus

Posted on May 12, 2015 by Dene Westbrook

The House Commerce and Trade committee met this morning to begin taking testimony on House Bill 4052.  This bill was originally a reintroduction of a bill that the League opposed late last term (HB 5977’14) that would have prohibited local units of government from creating a “community benefits ordinance”.  As the committee hearing got underway this morning a new version of the bill was offered that removes the references to community benefits ordinances and instead focuses on limiting local government’s ability to regulate employer-employee relations.

The H-2 substitute version would prohibit a local governmental body from adopting, enforcing, or administering an ordinance, local policy or local resolution:

  • Regulating the relationship between an employer and its employees or potential employees exceeding those imposed by federal or state law
  • Regulating information an employer must request, require, or exclude on an application for employment
  • Requiring an employer to pay a wage higher than the state or federal minimum wage
  • Requiring an employer to pay a wage or fringe benefit based on rates prevailing in the locality
  • Regulating work stoppage or strike activity, or employee organized labor
  • Requiring an employer to provide paid or unpaid leave time
  • Regulating hours and scheduling between employers and employees
  • Requiring an employer or employees to participate in an educational apprenticeship or training program

Testimony from business interest groups this morning appeared to be directed at community-wide minimum wage or paid sick leave ordinances that are being discussed in other states, but opposition testimony raised questions about how broad the language in the substitute bill could be construed. In addition to the clear violation of local control, the League is raising questions about how this language would impact existing zoning, economic development and tax abatement agreements and negotiations, if the language would prohibit related provisions with regard to businesses that contract with a municipality, and the potential impact the language could have on a community’s non-discrimination ordinance.

The committee took no action on the bill today and expects to hear further testimony, including opposition testimony from the League, next week.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and [email protected]

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