Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is a real national leader on paid sick leave. (But not in a good way.)
Paid sick leave is gaining ground as a national issue. It's now the law in three states and a growing number of cities, but the momentum behind it just means Republicans are gearing up to fight harder. Republicans in the Pennsylvania state legislature, for instance, are still working away at their ALEC-inspired goal of overriding Philadelphia's paid sick leave law. A state bill would pre-empt any local sick leave laws, because undoing local laws is how Republicans roll
. Pennsylvania Republicans may not be able to get an anti-sick leave bill past Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, but Jonathan Cohn points out that sick leave, at both the federal and state levels, could become a presidential campaign issue
When [Philadelphia Mayor Michael] Nutter signed that measure in his state, Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, hailed it as an achievement. On Monday, campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin told HuffPost that Clinton was "disappointed to learn of the effort to overturn this hard-fought victory." Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, has also spoken out against the Pennsylvania preemption effort -- calling it "dreadful."
Clinton has hinted during the campaign that she will support a national paid sick days law, similar to what Obama has proposed. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is Clinton’s lone declared Democratic rival, has already co-sponsored such a bill in the Senate. As for the Republicans, the three presidential candidates who had a chance to vote on Murray’s amendment -- Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio -- all voted no. Representatives of the campaign for Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, did not respond to questions about paid sick days laws.
And then there's Scott Walker. He signed a sick leave pre-emption bill in Wisconsin in 2011, so he can claim leadership on this issue. That's leadership in forcing people to choose between going to work while sick or stay home and risk not being able to pay the bills, but hey, leadership is leadership. Which means the other Republican candidates have some catching up to do and should definitely
work hard to let voters know how strenuously they oppose paid sick leave. After all, the issue only polls at around 60 percent