The Assembly Committee on Local Government has scheduled a committee vote for this Tuesday on AB 748, which would prohibit local governments from enacting or enforcing a wide range of important labor and employment policies that are important for increasing wages and improving the working conditions of employees. The Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform already passed the Senate version (SB 634) of the bill on a party line vote. Many of these policies, such as living wage ordinances and efforts to promote collective bargaining rights, are particularly important for lower- and moderate-income professions in which women are often disproportionately employed.
It does appear that one of the more odious provisions of the bill, which would have removed the ability of local governments from enacting or enforcing local anti-discrimination policies (such as the City of Madison’s longstanding equal opportunities ordinance), is likely to be removed from the bill via an amendment from the Assembly author due to the significant negative attention that provision has received. However, it also appears that the other six provisions of the bill will remain intact for now, all of which are incredibly problematic, as they will greatly reduce the ability of local governments to increase wages, fight the gender wage gap, and improve working conditions for people in their communities.
If the bill is approved by the Assembly Committee, it will then be available to be scheduled for a vote before the full Assembly. We are concerned that such a vote will be scheduled as early as this week.
For more information on this troubling legislation, please see our policy page on economic security issues. Finally, if you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to contact your state legislators and tell them to oppose this bill. This legislation is making quick progress through the legislative process and it is essential that anyone who cares about stopping it take the time to share their opinions with their legislators as soon as possible.
Sara Finger, Executive Director