On Thursday, a federal judge in Texas struck down an Obama administration rule that aimed to expand mandatory overtime pay, which had been on life support since last fall.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement praising the judgment on behalf of the Republican Attorneys General Association. She said, in part:
Today’s win at the district court permanently blocks a D.C. political agenda from the previous administration from harming businesses and employees. The Overtime Rule is yet another example of Republican Attorneys General achieving a victory for the rule of law and the American people and another defeat for the previous Administration, which consistently ignored the rule of law in its attempts to force a political agenda without regard for the Constitution.
The U.S. Labor Department rule change would have raised the salary threshold of workers covered by overtime pay requirements from $455 per week to $913 per week, or $47,476 a year. In other words, it would have made it much harder for employers to circumvent time-and-a-half compensation requirements by paying annual salaries rather than hourly wages. Business groups opposed the rule; labor groups supported it.
The rule would have made around four million salaried U.S. workers newly eligible for mandatory time-and-a-half pay as of last December, but it never went into effect. Business leaders and 21 states — including Arkansas — sued to block the overtime expansion, and, in November, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant issued a preliminary injunction that blocked its implementation. The rule’s chances never looked good under the new administration, so it was no surprise when Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, announced steps to formally undo it in July. Thursday’s ruling by Judge Mazzant was just the final nail in the coffin.
Acosta acknowledged in his Senate confirmation hearing that the standards for overtime still need to be updated, and Mazzant’s ruling left the door open for the Labor Department to do so.
Here’s the full release from the attorney general’s office:
WASHINGTON, DC – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement on behalf of the Republican Attorneys General Association in reaction to yesterday’s victory over the Obama-era Overtime Rule.
“Today’s win at the district court permanently blocks a D.C. political agenda from the previous administration from harming businesses and employees. The Overtime Rule is yet another example of Republican Attorneys General achieving a victory for the rule of law and the American people and another defeat for the previous Administration, which consistently ignored the rule of law in its attempts to force a political agenda without regard for the Constitution,” said Rutledge.
“Countless business owners, nonprofits, mayors and county judges across the country contacted me and my fellow Republican AGs to express their concern and urged me to challenge this ill-advised rule. Because of today’s win, employers are not being forced to lay off hardworking Americans,” continued Rutledge.
Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt added, “I applaud Judge Mazzant’s decision to permanently invalidate this Obama-era overtime rule that would have would have imposed millions of dollars
ofunfunded liabilities on the States and resulted in a loss of private sector jobs as well as onerous financial and regulatory burdens on small businesses in Nevada and around the country,” said Laxalt. “My office is proud to have led the charge towards a final ruling that brings clarity, certaintyand closure to the business community and government alike.”
Background on Republican AGs
an theOvertime Rule:
On September 30, a coalition of 21 states in
fileda federal court complaint challenging the United States Department of Labor’s new overtime rule.
If implemented, the rule would have more than doubled the minimum salary overtime threshold for public and private workers without Congressional authorization. The rule will force many state and local governments to substantially increase their employment costs. Some governments may be forced to eliminate some services and even lay off employees.
November,2016, a federal judge enjoined the rule and today, Judge Amos Mazzant granted summary judgementto the states, permanently invalidating the rule.
In addition to Nevada who led the coalition and Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas,
Utahand Wisconsin made up the 21-state coalition.