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• McMurray’s Republican rival, state Sen. Chris Jacobs, did vote against a bill that provides paid sick leave to employees of non-essential businesses.
• Jacobs argued that while he supports the concept of sick leave for workers with COVID-19, he thought the particular bill offered placed too much of a burden on small businesses.
Democratic congressional candidate Nate McMurray recently took to Twitter to attack state Sen. Chris Jacobs, his Republican opponent, over a vote he cast on paid sick leave.
McMurray and Jacobs are the two major-party candidates running for the vacant 27th District congressional seat. The vacancy emerged when Republican Rep. Chris Collins resigned following pleading guilty to federal charges in an insider trading case. Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison.
On April 8, McMurray tweeted, "Forbes called my opponents billionaire uncle, ‘The face of corporate greed during the corona.’ My opponent has only about $70M. But true to form, he voted against paid leave for Covid19. Support @Nate_McMurray for Congress. Leadership Matters!"
McMurray’s campaign confirmed that the tweet referred to a state Senate bill, S8091, which passed the Senate on March 18 and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It provides for certain employee benefits if the employee is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.
Among these benefits is paid sick leave during the government-mandated shutdown of non-essential businesses.
Jacobs voted against the bill. He was one of six senators who voted against it. All of the senators voting against the bill were Republicans serving in the Democratic-controlled chamber.
Jacobs issued a press release the day before the vote critical of the measure.
In the release, Jacobs called the bill a "new burden on New York businesses that will significantly raise costs starting in 2021. These new requirements would mandate small businesses grant paid leave for employees for an extremely broad swath of activities not at all related to being sick, such as ‘immigration’ and to ‘prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding.’ The COVID-19 crisis will bring many small businesses to their knees."
In a May 1 statement to PolitiFact, Jacobs said that he supports paid sick leave for workers coping with COVID-19 but voted against the bill because he thought it should have been presented differently.
"S8091 was a poorly written bill because it imposed 100% of the cost onto small businesses, which are already fighting for their very survival during this coronavirus crisis," Jacobs said. " I could not, in good conscience, vote for a bill which would put more financial stress on our already struggling small businesses."
Jacobs said that if the bill worsens the environment for small businesses, more of them would close, and in the long run, employees of those businesses would suffer.
McMurray said Jacobs "voted against paid leave for COVID-19."
Jacobs did vote against the New York Senate bill that provides paid sick leave to employees of non-essential businesses. Jacobs argued that while he supports the concept of sick leave for workers with COVID-19, he thought the particular bill offered placed too much of a burden on small businesses.
The statement is accurate but needs additional information, so we rate it Mostly True.
Nate McMurray, tweet, April 8, 2020
New York Senate, bill S8091, May 4, 2020
Roll call vote for S8091
Chris Jacobs, "Jacobs Responds to Democrat’s Proposed Sick Leave Legislation," March 17, 2020
Email interview with E.J. McMahon, research director for Empire Center for Public Policy Inc., May 4, 2020
Email interview with Paul S. Pfeiffer, communications director for New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, April 30, 2020
Email interview with Kate Walker McArdle, communications director for Nate McMurray for Congress, April 30, 2020
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