Capitol insiders tell The Hanging Shad that one of this legislative session’s most controversial bills—requiring companies of a certain size to provide paid sick leave to employees—won’t pass the state Senate unless Gov. Malloy intervenes and knocks some on-the-fence senators onto the “support” side.
The two sides of the issue are entrenched. Opponents, mostly pro-business groups and business owners, say the bill is a job killer at a time when the economy can least afford it. Proponents, mostly progressive legislators, public health and workers’ right advocates as well as the Working Family Party, say it’s a critical issue of public health—do we really want sick people coming into work because they can’t afford to lose the pay?
While the two sides fight it out in the court of public opinion, members of the state Senate, particularly the Senate Democrats, are unsure of how a potential vote would shake out. Several Capitol insiders say if the vote on the bill was held today, it would not pass and it would take the intervention of Gov. Malloy to deliver the necessary votes. Malloy has said he would sign such a bill but has been so busy with trying to sell his budget that he hasn’t been fully engaged on the paid sick leave issue.
In a side story, it seems like Malloy almost “owes” it to workers and unions to get involved and ensure the passage of the bill. The bill passed the labor committee but only barely; the vote was 6 to 5.
State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) opposes the bill. “You can’t say we’re pro-business, we want jobs, we want you guys to create jobs and then be the first state in the country to pass mandated paid sick leave. You can’t do it,” he said after a recent Malloy appearance in front of business leaders (to his credit, Malloy made it a point to tell the business group that he, in fact, supports the paid sick leave bill).
It will be Malloy who tips the scale. His involvement in the issue means it passes. His lack of intervention means it won’t.