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As an Austin City Council member, Greg Casar spearheaded an ordinance that required private employers to give employees paid sick leave. But the ordinance was struck down in court and never took effect.
Competing for an open U.S. House seat in Texas, Greg Casar made a series of boasts about his accomplishments, including one about paid sick leave.
In a TV ad shared on Twitter, Casar said he "learned that progressive change is possible, if we fight for it. That’s how we passed paid sick leave."
On the screen are the words: "Greg Casar — passed paid sick leave," along with a reference to the Austin City Council.
Casar was a member of the council when he led a successful effort to pass Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance.
But what he left out of the ad is that the ordinance never took effect.
📺 NEW TV AD: I’m ready to deliver on a bold, progressive agenda for Texas working families!— Greg Casar (@GregCasar) February 8, 2022
Early voting starts in just 7 days. Can you chip in $7 now to help us reach voters across #TX35? 👉🏽 https://t.co/xhfXkb47JA pic.twitter.com/fg29qG54x6
The ordinance led by Casar was approved by the city council in February 2018. It would have required private employers in the city to provide employees at least six to eight days of paid sick leave per year, depending on the size of the company.
The ordinance never took effect because it was challenged in court and struck down.
The legal challenges ended in June 2020 when the Texas Supreme Court let stand an appeals court ruling that the Austin ordinance conflicts with the state’s minimum wage ordinance, which bars cities from regulating wages paid by private businesses.
Asked about Casar’s ad, his campaign spokesperson said that the Austin council also approved providing paid sick leave to part-time, temporary and seasonal city employees. That resolution was adopted in March 2018. Full-time city employees already had that benefit. Casar sponsored that resolution.
Casar is running for the 35th District congressional seat, which is open because the incumbent, Democrat Lloyd Doggett, decided after redistricting to run for another Austin-area seat in the 37th District.
Casar had the most campaign cash on hand of any candidates as of Dec. 31, according to the latest Federal Election Commission data. He is running in the March 1 primary against a number of Democratic candidates, including state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin and former San Antonio City Council member Rebecca Viagran.
Casar said he "passed paid sick leave."
As a member of the Austin City Council, he spearheaded an Austin ordinance that would have required private employers to provide paid sick leave. But the ordinance was challenged in court and never took effect.
Casar’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details — our definition of Half True.
Twitter, Greg Casar tweet, Feb. 8, 2022
City of Austin, Ordinance No. 20180215-049, Feb. 15, 2018
City of Austin, Resolution No. 20180301-017, March 1, 2018
Austin American-Statesman, "Texas Supreme Court won’t hear Austin’s bid to require businesses to offer paid sick leave," June 5, 2020
Austin American-Statesman, "Austin City Council will give paid sick leave to its temporary workers," March 7, 2018
Texas Supreme Court, "Orders Pronounced June 5, 2020"
Texas Observer, "Austin Passes First Paid Sick Leave Policy In The South," Feb. 16, 2018
Email and interview, Tara Pohlmeyer, communications director, Greg Casar campaign, Feb. 9, 2022
Axios, "Campaign ads hit the airwaves in Austin congressional race," Feb. 9, 2022
Texas Tribune, "Rejecting appeal, Texas Supreme Court blocks Austin's paid sick leave ordinance," June 5, 2020
Texas Tribune, "Frontrunners for Texas’ new congressional seats look to send message with decisive primary wins," Jan. 26, 2022
KUT.org, "Austin City Council Mandates Six To Eight Paid Sick Days For All Private Employees," Feb. 16, 2018
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