The Texas House passed S.B. 652, amending the Texas Labor Code to ensure that franchisors are not liable for employment discrimination, wage payment, and Texas Minimum Wage Act or Texas Workers’ Compensation Act claims unless the franchisor exercised control over the franchisee or its employees beyond the control customarily needed to protect the franchisor’s trademarks and overall brand. The Texas House introduced the bill in an effort to shield franchisors from recent NLRB decisions which have classified franchisors and franchisees as “joint employers.” The AFL­CIO and the Equal Justice Center have openly opposed the bill’s passage.

The Illinois House defeated H.B. 1286, with 72 house members opposing the bill and 37 Republican house members voting “present.” The bill would have created the Local Employee Empowerment Act allowing Illinois counties and municipalities to designate themselves as an employee empowerment zone for private­sector employees, public­sector employees, or both. Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan (D) drafted the bill in response to Governor Bruce Rauner’s (R ­ Ill) request that the Illinois General Assembly create local right­to­work zones.

The Chicago City Council unanimously rejected Governor Rauner’s local right­to­work proposal, which encourages municipal units of government to build local right­to­work zones, ban project labor agreements and eliminate prevailing wage work rules. The Chicago Council’s resolution states that the right­to­work proposal would dismantle organized labor altogether and cites to a legal opinion produced by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) for support. The Attorney General’s opinion maintains that local right­to­work ordinances are illegal under federal law and argues that Section 8(a)(3) of the NLRA preempts regulation of union security agreements with few exceptions. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) have expressly refused to support the proposal, arguing that the proposal would harm middle­class families.

Governor Jay Nixon (D – Missouri) intends to veto a right­to­work bill recently passed in the Missouri legislature. The bill would prevent workers from having to pay union dues as a requirement for employment. It also included a provision that would make any violation of it a misdemeanor, and make a violator subject to unlimited civil penalties. The legislature is unlikely to have the necessary votes to override the veto.

The United States Senate voted 96­3 to table an attempt to override President Obama’s veto of S.J. Res. 8, which sought to prevent the implementation of the NLRB’s Final Rule regarding representation case processing procedures and further prohibit the Board from passing a “substantially similar” rule without congressional approval. President Obama vetoed the joint resolution in April, shortly after it passed both the House and Senate. Attempts to override the President’s veto failed and the rule went into effect in mid­April. See our client briefings, NLRB General Counsel Issues Guidance Memorandum on Representation Case Procedure Changes and NLRB Issues Final Rule Regarding Representation Cases.