AIBA Member Showcase Videos Available

AIBA members can receive a free Facebook video. Just sign up! Once a week, AIBA shoots a short video promoting one of our members. It’s then posted on Facebook and made available to the member for their use. This only takes about 15 minutes. Did I mention that it’s free? I have openings beginning next week. Email Rebecca to reserve your’s.

The video can be a demonstration or instructional video up to five minutes or a quick pitch of what you can offer customers. We can do a walkthrough of your business or set up a stationary shoot. It’s up to you.

Check our Facebook page for the latest video of the Business Success Center.

AIBA KOOP Radio Show is Silent

Members have been asking about the local business community radio show we’ve been working on with KOOP Radio. Last fall we were invited to create a radio show that focused on local business and our role in the Austin community. We worked with KOOP Radio to develop a radio show appropriate for public radio and to train to become a programmer at KOOP. The Koop Programming Committee decided that a show about local business did not fit within the station format and denied our application. Since we have developed a show outline and content, we are exploring other options to use the material. We’ll keep you posted.

DSD Seeks Your Opinion on Gender-Neutral Diaper Changing Stations

On June 19, 2019, the City Council approved Resolution No. 20190619-093 directing the City Manager to work with stakeholders to develop regulations in support of the goal of ensuring universal, gender-neutral access to diaper changing accommodations in public restrooms. The resolution initiates an amendment to City Code and proposes that the regulations extend to public serving non-City facilities with mercantile and assembly uses.

The Development Services Department is hosting two stakeholder meetings, the details of which are listed below. At each meeting, City staff will provide an overview of the preliminary draft of the regulations, solicit stakeholder feedback, and respond to questions.

Please register for the option that best suits your availability.

  • Thursday, August 15th, 1:30-3:00PM
    -or-
  • Monday, August 19th, 10:00-11:30AM

The meetings will be held at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, in Room 400.

Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can provide any additional information in advance of the meetings.  Many thanks in advance for your participation.

Unconventional Austin Turns in Petitions

AIBA has endorsed the petition created by Unconventional Austin to require a vote on the expansion of the Convention Center and to reallocate some of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenue to support music, arts, parks and local businesses (Read more about our support). The issue at had is not whether to expand the Convention Center or not, but rather should the public have a vote on expansion and should the HOT revenue be allocated in a different way. The distribution of Hot revenue to support the things tourists really come here for is more in alignment with other cities in Texas.  Whether you are for or against expansion, you should have the right to vote.

Bill Bunch, director of SOS Alliance, met supporters at City Hall today to submit 30,000 signatures to place this issue on the November ballot.

Now work begins to educate people and to get out the vote. Unconventional AUstin has post cards and posters. If you would like some of these for your business, please let me know, rebecca@ibuyaustin.com.

Update on the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

I am writing today to give you all an update on the City of Austin’s Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.

With all the legislative chatter and court actions it is difficult to know where it stands and what is expected of businesses in Austin.

As you may know, during the recent Legislative session the seemingly well-supported statewide bill intended to undo the city’s ordinance failed for lack of a vote in the House. The Governor has said that there will be no special session. So for now, there will be no statewide legislation that will address the ordinance, and therefore, the fate of the ordinance rests in the courts.

In November of 2018, the appellate court ruled that the City of Austin’s sick leave ordinance violated the Texas Constitution by violating the Texas Minimum Wage Act. At that time, the court issued an injunction preventing the ordinance from going into effect. That is where it stands today.

The City of Austin has filed an appeal of that decision to the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Court is expected to decide whether or not they will take up that appeal by later this summer. If the Court chooses to do so, the possible outcomes are as follows (and expected to be decided before the end of the year):

  1. The Court could rule against the appellate court and overturn the injunction; or
  2. The Court could uphold the injunction; or
  3. The Court could choose not to rule on the appeal.

Under the second two options (which appear to be the most likely scenarios), the case would go back to District Court for arguments on the merits of the lawsuit. This would essentially start the process all over again with the injunction still in place. Until the Texas Supreme Court says otherwise, businesses in Austin cannot be forced to provide paid sick leave. At this point, this seems like an unlikely outcome, but you never know.

As a reminder, businesses with 15 or more employees at any time during the year much provide 8 days of paid sick leave. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees must provide 6 days.

In the meantime, while this is being worked out in the courts, you can take the following steps to prepare your business for the ordinance going into effect. (1) develop paid sick leave policies and procedures that suit your business; and (2) determine the timing and how you would roll out such policies. Another option is to turn your current paid sick days and paid vacation days into personal time. As long as the combined days meet or exceed the required standards, you will be in compliance.

To learn more about the proposed ordinance and rules, you can visit the City’s website: http://www.austintexas.gov/EarnedSickTime

To read more about AIBA’s position on Paid Sick Leave, see:
City of Austin Mandated Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
Business Coalition Challenges Austin’s Burdensome and Unconstitutional Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
Increased Fines for a Bad Attitude? This Devil is in the Details of Paid Sick Leave
Paid Sick Leave Survey Results
Earned Sick Time Update: The Final Rules
Is This How We Govern? Letter to City Council
The Damage Done

Michael Searle, Board Member, Austin Independent Business Alliance, CEO of Aro Group, LLC, an Austin-Based Consulting Firm, and Executive Director of the Austin Civic Fund contributed to this article.