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The Texas legislature has begun its 86th legislative session in January 2019 with a long list of items to review and discuss, including controversial employment law changes. The debates in the Texas state house may have a direct impact on your business. Here are the issues to watch in this legislative session.

Sexual Harassment

The #MeToo movement continues to have a ripple effect throughout the nation, and the Texas legislature is no exception. Several proposed measures aim to curb harassment in the workplace.

Senate Bill 159 would limit the powers of employers to enforce non-disclosure agreements that could prohibit employees from publicly reporting abuse and sexual harassment. In the past, non-disclosure agreements have been used to silence victims of sexual assault and harassment in the workplace, allowing abusers to stay in leadership in companies.

Union Dues

Bills to block automatic withdrawal of union dues in the state of Texas are expected to resurface in this legislative session. Proponents of the initiative say the government shouldn’t be involved in union dues collection, while opponents believe the measure would unduly weaken unions. In past legislative sessions, bills have passed the Senate to limit dues collection for teachers and Child Protective Services unions, but were never acted on by the House.

Sick Leave

The city of Austin’s controversial sick leave ordinance received a blow from the state’s 3rd Court of Appeals in November, but that won’t stop the legislature from enacting further measures to reject the city’s proposal. House Bill 222 would ensure cities can’t enact such ordinance and codify the legislature’s disapproval. Lawmakers such as Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, want to quash any similar ordinances throughout the state.

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