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Other Voices: What Texas editors are saying

Ordinance bad for business

Texarkana Gazette

Texas has a reputation for being pro-business and anti-regulation.

But it looks like the city of Dallas didn’t get the word.

Last week, by a 10-4 vote, the Dallas City Council passed an ordinance that would force all businesses to offer paid sick leave to their employees or face a $500 fine.

The ordinance requires companies to credit an employee with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked to a maximum of 64 hours of sick leave a year.

The city already mandates two paid 15-minute breaks during a working shift. But according to an editorial last week in The Dallas Morning News, the law isn’t enforced because the city lacks any way to enforce it.

What is particularly odious about the sick leave ordinance is that it would give the city the power to subpoena businesses’ employment records to ensure compliance.

This isn’t the first time a Texas city has taken such a stand. Both San Antonio and ultra-progressive Austin passed similar ordinances. Austin is mired in a court challenge after their ordinance was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. ...

Texas has seen its economy grow while other, more “progressive” states are losing out. Companies like stable regulatory environment. As such business regulations — what there are of them — should be set by the state Legislature and apply statewide. It would be a shame if a few of the state’s more liberal cities could derail the Lone Star State’s remarkable economic growth.

Demand better officials

The Monitor

The arrest of Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina, his wife Dalia and others on charges of voter fraud are only the latest in a long, sad history of Rio Grande Valley officials facing allegations of criminal activity.

The couple, along with at least 16 others, are accused of fraudulently registering or encouraging others to register using false addresses in order to vote for Molina in the November 2017 Edinburg mayoral election.

The Molinas are fighting the charges, and should be considered not guilty if they haven’t been convicted. Still, the specter of yet another criminal trial against a Valley official is all too familiar.

Mayor Molina’s attorney, Carlos A. Garcia, complained about the charges and the attention, claiming — as indicted officials always do — that they are politically motivated. But facts are facts; if the charges are proven to be true, it doesn’t matter what motivated the original complaint.

Garcia also said he’s tired of seeing the Valley depicted as an area “where bribery and corruption are rampant and where bad things happen.” So are we. In fact, the Molinas’ arrests overshadowed much more positive news: that also on Thursday, the petition to merge the region’s three metropolitan planning organizations, which oversee infrastructure development, was presented to the Texas Department of Transportation board in Austin, a welcome sign of regional planning and cooperation.

Sadly, it is true that South Texas has a reputation as a den of corruption and malfeasance. But with the dozens of officials and confederates who have been marched through our state and federal courtrooms, it’s also true that the reputation is earned.

South Texas’ four most southern border counties — Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Zapata — bear the dubious distinction of having both a top executive official and top law enforcement official, a county judge and sheriff, indicted if not convicted on criminal charges in the past couple of decades. In fact, former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño only recently was released from prison after serving out his sentence on a conspiracy to commit money laundering conviction.

Myriad members of city and county commissions, school boards and other governmental bodies only add to the embarrassing list. ...

Perhaps most important, as early voting goes on for various local elections, this case gives us yet one more reminder to learn as much as we can about the candidates, and make the most informed decisions possible at the ballot box.

Until voters demand better officials, the long stream of official misconduct is likely to continue, and continue to erode the public’s trust.

Today's Bible verse

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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