By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — During a roundtable discussion at Philadelphia City Hall, a close aide to President Obama weighed in on a measure being considered by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in Harrisburg to block Philadelphia’s just-passed paid sick leave law. White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is part of a national tour by members of the Obama Administration to call on cities with favorable paid sick leave laws.
Jarrett has heard about legislation passed in the State Senate and sent to the House to overturn the local measure. She says that would be “dreadful.”
“I think that frankly, Pennsylvania should follow Philadelphia’s lead,” Jarrett says. “Don’t you?”
Mayor Michael Nutter says the other 66 counties in the Commonwealth would be unaffected, and state lawmakers should get on to other matters.
‘I think the general assembly should really work on something that does affect all Pennsylvanians,” Nutter says, “which is the underfunding of education in the Commonwealth. How about working on that?”
Councilman Bill Greenlee, the main sponsor of the paid sick leave bill, believes the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association are putting pressure on state lawmakers to preempt paid sick leave.
“Let us do what we have to do,” Greenlee says, “for what we feel is the health and welfare of our citizens.”
Jarrett says that the Obama Administration was pushing for national legislation in Congress that would provide up to seven days of paid leave per year.