Injunction Denied in Austin Sick Time “Political Blood Fight”

Noting that the case “has the aroma of a good political blood fight,” a state district court judge yesterday denied the request of a cadre of business interests to enjoin implementation of the Austin Earned Sick Time Ordinance, scheduled to go into effect on October 1, according to a news report. The judge also ruled that the Texas Attorney General’s office could remain in the case as a plaintiff-intervenor but tossed the Workers Defense Project as a defendant-intervenor from the case, according to that report.

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The denial of the requested temporary injunction does not end the challenge to the Austin ordinance. The plaintiffs might appeal the district judge’s decision or proceed to litigate the substance of their claims.

PSL opponents are also anticipating a legislative fix. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been vocal in his displeasure with local PSL laws (see here), raising the possibility that the legislature will enact a law preempting the Austin ordinance’ in its 2019 session. Texas preemption laws have recently banned local ride-share regulations, fracking bans and sanctuary cities.

There’s PSL-turbulence in the Lone Star State and plenty more to come. PSL proponents in Dallas and San Antonio hope to let voters decide in November whether to adopt a PSL ordinance.