Kelsey, Casada Bill Blocks Local Government Actions on Worker Benefits

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, TN) November 2, 2011 – Representative Glen Casada (R-College Grove) and State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) today announced the introduction of a jobs bill designed to increase the number of jobs available to unemployed workers.
Senate Bill 2149 provides that no local government can impose on any business additional mandates regarding health insurance benefits, minimum wage requirements, or family leave requirements that deviate from those required by state law. The legislation is the fifth in a series of announcements by Kelsey in his “12 for ’12” initiative for the next legislative session, which is set to reconvene January 10, 2012.
“There is no doubt that this bill will open up job opportunities, especially for minority teens in Tennessee,” said Kelsey. “Excessive regulations from local governments are unwittingly pricing certain employees out of jobs, especially minority teens, who do not yet have the skill set to demand high-wage, high-benefit jobs.”
According to a study released this summer by the Chicago Urban League, the jobless rate of African American teens is a shocking 42 percent. Local government minimum wage regulations are a large contributor to that figure. Among black males in this group, each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage has decreased employment by 6.5 percent, according to a separate study released this summer by labor economists William Even of Miami University in Ohio and David Macpherson of Trinity University in Texas.
In addition to job growth, the bill aims to help small businesses who cannot afford additional burdens placed on them through local ordinances or resolutions. “This bill is modeled after the Interstate Commerce Clause which ensures that the flow of commerce is free from restraints imposed by various states,” said Representative Casada. “This legislation, likewise, would prevent counties in Tennessee from imposing additional intrastate requirements, so they cannot inhibit commerce by placing additional burdens on businesses.”
Businesses in Tennessee are already struggling in a very challenging economic environment. In order to grow jobs small business owners need protection from having to comply with additional burdens placed on them by yet another layer of government.
“Every time another burden is imposed on our small businesses, it costs jobs,” added Rep. Casada. “It also causes small businesses or their human resource departments to have to hire attorneys, an action which is very expensive.”
“Small businesses are the engine that drives economic growth and job creation. If we want our economy to improve, we must get government off the backs of small businesses, so they can do what they do best: grow jobs,” Senator Kelsey concluded.

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