Committee Counsel started the committee meeting then stepped away from the podium to get some information. About 15 minutes later, he returned and continued with his explanation of SB 135. This bill has nine components, all of which serve to preempt and prohibit political subdivisions from enacting any ordinance, regulation, local policy, local resolution or other legal requirements regulating certain areas of the employer-employee relationship and the sale or marketing of consumer merchandise. Political subdivisions include municipalities, county commissions, boards of education, city/county health departments, public service districts, volunteer fire departments, etc.
“What is the policy for preventing a city from having a training?” asked Senator Lindsay. Counsel responded that it was for uniformity.
“What is the purpose of this bill?, asked Senator Romano. “We’re tying the hands of every city council, county commission….it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.” Again, counsel responded that it creates uniformity but at the cost of flexibility.
“What is the crux of this bill?” asked Senator Hardesty, noting that most of it seems to prohibit items that political subdivisions are not doing.
A representative from the Municipal League said passage of this bill would be detrimental to local elected officials to solve problems or uphold the values of their communities. She noted that there’s not a one size fits all solution to every problem a municipality might have.
“What do you think the effect of this bill will be on home rule?” asked Senator Baldwin. The municipal representative responded that any home rule provision incongruent to this bill would be voided.
“We are usurping local control. What are we afraid of? I see a plethora of bad outcomes from this,” said Senator Romano
“This bill paints with a broad brush,” stated Senator Hardesty.
“Why did we give municipalities home rule?” queried Senator Jeffries, if we’re going to take away all local control.
Questions and discussion followed along this line of consequences, intended and unintended, about the bill. Chairman Trump relinquished the chair to further explain the bill, agreeing that if this bill passes, all political subdivisions would be precluded from the nine components listed below. The bill passed but is recommended to go to Government Organization for further review.
A political subdivision may not adopt, enforce, or administer an ordinance, regulation, local policy, local resolution, or other legal requirement regarding the following areas:
(1) Regulating information an employer or potential employer must request, require, or exclude on an application for employment from an employee or a potential employee:
(2) Requiring an employer to pay to an employee a wage higher than any applicable state or federal law;
(3) Requiring an employer to pay to an employee a wage or fringe benefit based on wage and fringe benefit rates prevailing in the locality;
(4) Regulating work stoppage or strike activity of employers and their employees or the means by which employees may organize;
(5) Requiring an employer to provide to an employee paid or unpaid leave time;
(6) Requiring an employer or its employees to participate in any educational apprenticeship or apprenticeship training program that is not required by state or federal law;
(7) Regulating hours and scheduling that an employer is required to provide to employees;
(8) Regulating standards or requirements regarding the sale or marketing of consumer merchandise that are different from, or in addition to, any state law:
(9) Regulating standards of care or conduct for any profession regulated, licensed, or certified by the State of West Virginia.