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Court Orders Paid Sick Leave Measure Onto Florida Ballot, Commission Refuses To Comply (UPDATED)

By Annie-Rose Strasser on September 18, 2012 at 10:45 am

"Court Orders Paid Sick Leave Measure Onto Florida Ballot, Commission Refuses To Comply (UPDATED)"

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Earned sick leave advocates thought they’d scored a victory Monday night when a three-judge panel in Orange County, Florida ruled that a compensated leave measure must make it to the county’s ballot for November’s election. But before there was time to celebrate, the Orange County Commissioners stepped in; the court gave them 20 days to respond — enough time that, should they use it, they’d miss the deadline for printing new ballots:

And if county leaders choose to use any of that time, Tuesday’s deadline to print the ballot will pass.

In a statement, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said she had directed County Attorney Jeff Newton to review the decision and advise the County Commission, which meets Tuesday, on how to proceed.

“The court’s decision today reflects the ongoing confusion caused by a political committee rushing this initiative through the process,” she said.

The hotly-contested initiative had garnered the 50,000 signatures needed to qualify, but was bumped off the ballot last week by the Orange County Commission, who ruled the suggested law’s language was unclear. Their argument was not dissimilar from that of big businesses, who earlier sued to stop the initiative, saying the ballot language did not indicate whether the new law exempted non-profits and religious institutions.

The law would make paid sick leave compulsory for any business with more than 15 employees. Earned sick leave allows workers to take off time when they would be unproductive and likely to spread disease, and to work full-time without worrying about losing their jobs should they have to take care of a loved one.

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