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Updated: Court Hearing for Sick Time Ballot Measure Tuesday Evening

Supporters of mandatory earned sick time for workers in Orange County are going to the court again in a last ditch attempt to get the measure on the November ballot.

The deadline to send the ballots to the printer is today.

Last night a panel of judges ruled in favor of supporters of the sick time initiative.

But today county commissioners still had not voted to put the question on the ballot.

Citizens for a Greater Orange County, which supports the sick time initiative, is asking the court for an emergency injunction to compel the board of county commissioners to put the question on the ballot.

A hearing is scheduled for 5 o clock this afternoon in the Orange County Court.

During the county commission meeting Tuesday morning, dozens of people spoke out in favor of the earned sick time measure.

Stephanie Porta of Organize Now, urged commissioners to follow the court’s ruling.

“Today’s the commission’s last chance to comply with the order in time for earned sick time to be placed on the November ballot. Mayor Jacobs, commissioners, I urge you to do the right thing.”

Some people dropped flowers in front of the commissioners, and others accused the commission of ignoring the rules of its charter by delaying the ballot measure.

“Democracy down the drain again,” said Rico Picard.

But some speakers said more time is needed to tease out the implications of the ballot measure.

Billy Butterfield, who owns a landscape management company, told commissioners it shouldn’t be Orange County government’s job to decide what benefits his employees get.

He questioned how mandatory sick time would work for employers who do business in more than one county.

“Give us time to vet this out, don’t bury it. If it’s worth doing it should come out in a vote and after it’s discussed properly. Don’t rush it.”

Mayor Teresa Jacobs said although she voted against delaying the ballot initiative, she thinks there are problems with the wording of the ballot question.

“The language in this ordinance goes way beyond paid sick time.”

Jacobs said she doesn’t support the measure personally, partly because of the impact it could have on the economy.

She said there isn’t enough time to debate the issue before the November election.

“Our economy is too fragile to be experimenting here in Orange County.”

Earned Sick time supporters took the county to court after commissioners voted last week to block the ballot measure.

Monday night a panel of judges ruled in favor of sick time backers, saying there is "a facially sufficient claim for relief”.

Jacobs said she directed the county attorney to review the court’s decision and advise the board on how to proceed.

A statement from county attorney Jeffrey Newton says the county has 20 days to respond.


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