After drawn out litigation, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that the State’s attempts to pass legislation that prohibits cities from passing laws regarding benefits—including paid leave—violates Arizona’s paid sick and safe days ballot initiative and the Arizona Voter Protection Act. The Arizona Supreme Court has now settled the issue by refusing to interfere with the Court of Appeals decision. As a result, local governments in Arizona can pass paid leave and other benefits laws that build on all rights at the state level.
Cities have long been at the frontlines in the fight to reform the modern workplace: local communities have led the way in adopting workplace solutions like paid sick time, living wage mandates, fair scheduling requirements, and LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. But in response, states are increasingly blocking, or “preempting,” local progress by stepping in and overturning progressive local laws or preventing cities from passing them in the first place.
Advocates in Georgia passed four local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ individuals, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law by referendum, and six more states have passed laws prohibiting the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. We were also excited to celebrate our role in passage of several new LGBTQ-inclusive paid leave laws and victories upholding local LGBTQ rights laws.
We work in cities across the country to fight for fair workplace policies such as paid leave and sick time, predictable and flexible work schedules, and nondiscrimination, which often involves helping cities defend those policies against state efforts to roll them back.
We know how important it is for cities and local communities to be able to develop and implement policies that are responsive to their own needs and for their voices to be heard at all levels of government, which is why structural, pro-democratic reforms are so crucial for progressive policymaking across issues.
Local governments are an important powerhouse of progressive policymaking, and we are dedicated to strengthening, protecting, and defending local democracy in the years ahead.
We applaud the passage today of Michigan’s earned paid sick time law giving nearly 2 million hard-working Michiganders the right to take time off to care for themselves and their families. But the fight is not over.
Overall, the conference was an especially important moment to act in solidarity with our partners in the labor movement following the Supreme Court’s anti-worker rights decision in Janus v. AFSCME earlier this summer.
San Antonio now joins more than 40 states and cities across the country in passing a paid sick time law. With the passage of San Antonio’s ordinance, workers in seven of the country’s eight most populous cities now have the legal right to earn paid sick time!
One of the many high points at the conference was hearing about the incredible cross-movement work happening at the local level, even in the face of state interference.