City Council Member Flannigan Talks Jobs and Affordable Housing with the Chamber

Posted on 05/01/2018 by Austin Chamber of Commerce

Last Friday, Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan joined Central Texas businesses during the Chamber’s monthly Local Advocacy Council to talk policy matters important to our membership.

The Local Advocacy Council advocates for businesses, informs members of local community efforts, and reacts quickly to proposed policies that could negatively impact the Austin business climate.

The next meeting will be held Friday, May 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the boardroom of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. The group will hold voter registrar training open to all businesses in Austin. To join the council or to attend the next meeting, contact Tina Grider-Cannon, Vice President of Local Government Relations, at

Below is a recap of the meeting.

The Next Steps in Paid Sick Leave
After a long Thursday night and early Friday morning council session that finished at 3 a.m., District 6 Council Member Flannigan joined the business community to answer questions they may have during their local advocacy council.

One topic of business discussion was the recent City Council vote on mandatory paid sick leave. In February, the Austin City Council passed the ordinance with a vote of 9-2 which requires all employers in the Austin region to provide paid sick leave for all interns, seasonal, part-and-full-time employees. The mandate goes into effect October 1, 2018, and requires private employers to provide their workers up to eight days of paid sick leave a year, with accrual into the following year. Nonprofits, which according to the mandate, are considered businesses and must comply with the legislation.

Recently, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a lawsuit against the City of Austin over its paid sick leave ordinance. The Texas Public Policy Foundation is representing the Texas Association of Business and the National Federation of Independent Business arguing against the paid sick leave ordinance. The groups have requested the ordinance cease while the case is being heard.

CodeNext, What’s Next?
Over the last two years, the City of Austin staffers have taken major steps to rewrite Austin’s land development code. Residents and businesses have stated that the current code lacks the simplicity and the tools the city needs to effectively plan for expected population growth while attempting to maintain affordability.

Austin city staff have, with the help of a consultant team, written three versions of CodeNext.

Regarding CodeNext: “People look at the draft and say, ‘this thing is a mess you can’t pass it.’ Council is saying, ‘we weren’t going to pass draft 3 that’s why it’s called a draft.’ Even many of the folks frustrated from the public perspective are folks wanting us to do it as long as it is good. They want us to have more housing options. They want us to address affordability.”

The Planning Commission will take action Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 on the issue. Austin City Council is expected to take up the item in the next few months. Watch your email for advocacy action alerts.

For more information on the Austin Chamber’s policy initiatives, click here.

Related Categories: Public Policy