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Dallas City Council Passes Earned Paid Sick Leave After Heated Debate

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Tempers flared at Dallas City Hall Wednesday before council members approved an ordinance requiring all businesses in the city to give their employees earned paid sick leave.

At one point, Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston ripped up a proposal by Councilman Adam McGough, who he sits next to, as he discussed an alternative option.

Some supporters of the ordinance cheered and clapped for Kingston, but Mayor Mike Rawlings scolded Kingston. "Mr. Kingston, we're not going to have you throwing stuff, we're not going to have you throwing things."

Kingston then walked over to the Mayor and told him to stop lying about what he did.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Councilman Philip Kingston (CBS 11)
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Councilman Philip Kingston (CBS 11)

Councilwoman Carolyn King Arnold rebuked Kingston, but didn't mention him by name. "I think the Mayor deserves respect. I did not like what I witnessed from an elected official around this horseshoe. I wouldn't

if done to the Mayor, I wouldn't if done to myself, or any others of you who are here."

Under the ordinance, all companies in Dallas will now have to provide employees with earned paid sick time, and could be subpoenaed by the city if they don't.

Council member Rickey Callahan, who opposed the ordinance, questioned its timing. "There are several colleagues, some have been here 16 years, some nine years, some eight years. If it was important to pass this, why wasn't it passed til now on the eve of an election?"

He and some other council members voted to delay the ordinance, but that failed.

Councilman Omar Narvaez offered his strong support for the ordinance to be passed Wednesday. "This is one of those days where you're either for the people of Dallas or against the people of Dallas."

The measure passed ten to four amid cheers from supporters.

A coalition of ten groups fought for the measure.

Diana Ramirez of Workers Defense said during a news conference "For a low wage worker, for every three days of work they miss, that's equal a month's budget of groceries. A month."

But this faces an uphill battle.

Similar ordinances in Austin and San Antonio face legal challenges and are being reviewed by the Texas Supreme Court.

Governor Greg Abbott opposes cities passing these ordinances, and Republicans in the State Senate passed a bill that will not allow cities to pass them.

The State House will consider the legislation soon.

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