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Kelly withdraws earned paid family leave bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Just over a week after it was filed, a bill for earned paid family leave is being formally withdrawn.

House Bill 1974 — introduced by Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove — would have established up to eight weeks of paid leave per 12 month period for eligible employees.

“I agree with President Trump that our nation has long overlooked making childcare more affordable for families, I believe it is time for Missouri to invest in our families,” Kelly said in a news release. “While I agreed to introduce HR 1974, I was very clear in my discussions with stakeholders, a significant amendment was needed. As a result of our inability to reach agreement on the amendment language I will be withdrawing HB 1974.”

The United States is the only industrialized country lacking a nation-wide earned paid family and medical leave program. Although, five states — California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Washington — have passed laws that are similar in effect.

The bill that was introduced was modeled after research the Women’s Foundation conducted on how California’s law — which was implemented in 2004 — impacted businesses and the economy.

After the bill was introduced, there was a lot of talk on social media. One Facebook user called the bill “theft.” Another said that even though the employee, not the government or employer was paying for it, this wasn’t “limited government.”

Other’s lept to the defense of the bill. One person wrote, “Workers with paid family leave are happier, more productive, and more loyal to their company. This program will pay for itself monetarily and in other intangible ways.”

“I have always believed that those at the kitchen know what is best for their families, not the government,” Kelly said. “A government which governs less, rather than more, is the best form of government.

“Since there was no acceptable language presented which we were able to agree upon that meets this standard, I have sent a letter to the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives formally requesting that this bill be withdrawn.”