AUSTIN, Texas — About a dozen city and county elected officials, including Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, were at the Capitol Thursday to talk with lawmakers and voice their opposition to several bills. 

They want to make sure Senate Bill 15 (SB15), by Conroe Republican Senator Brandon Creighton, doesn't pass. It would ban cities and counties from passing ordinances related to employee benefits and employment policies. That includes paid sick leave policies, LGBTQ protections and banning the box, which is taking questions about criminal history off initial job applications.

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Casar said because it appears SB15 is unlikely to pass, Sen. Creighton asked to have the filing deadline rule suspended so he could file four other bills that would accomplish each of the components of SB15 but individually. Those bills are SB 2485, SB 2486, SB 2487 and SB 2488. 

Casar and others said Sen. Creighton is trying to limit the ability of local governments to pass policies that represent their community's values.

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"They should be working to wrap up school finance or to work on our maternal mortality rate rather than coming into our cities to take away people's right to a sick day or even people's right to a water break," Casar said.

Among its employment ordinances, Austin has an ordinance requiring workers be allowed to take a break. Casar said that ordinance would become void if Sen. Creighton's bills pass.

SB 15 was voted out of committee. Sen. Creighton's other bills were heard by the Senate Committee on State Affairs Thursday and were heard in committee Thursday as well.

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